Lion Air Buying 50 Boeing 737 Jets In $6.2b Deal

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Indonesian carrier looks to cash in on a transport boom in the south-east Asian nation

Jakarta: Indonesia’s Lion Air is buying 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aeroplanes in a deal valued at about $6.2 billion (Dh22.7 billion), the firms said Tuesday, as the carrier looks to cash in on a transport boom in the south-east Asian nation.

The new single-aisle plane is the latest incarnation of Boeing’s 737 MAX series, which can accommodate between 130 and 230 passengers and fly up to 7,130km, the companies said in a statement.

The order — the largest to date for the MAX 10 — was valued at $6.24 billion, although multi-plane deals tend to end up costing carriers less than list prices.

The firms said the newest plane, which is to be delivered from 2020, “will be the most fuel-efficient and profitable single-aisle jet in the aviation industry”.

The Indonesian carrier, which started less than 20 years ago with just one plane, stunned the sector in 2013 when it announced two of the world’s largest aircraft orders in a monster $46 billion deal.

At the time, Lion agreed to buy 234 medium-haul A320 jets worth some $23.8 billion from European aerospace giant Airbus, after a $22.4 billion deal for 230 Boeing planes.

Founded in 1999 by brothers Kusnan and Rusdi Kirana, Lion Air is the first private airline in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation that has struggled with a spotty air safety record.

With some 260 million people, Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous nation with more than 17,000 islands and is home to south-east Asia’s biggest economy.

The country has a burgeoning middle class which is keen to abandon travel by bus, ferry and train and instead take to the skies for holidays and family visits.