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Lion Air to purchase 60 aircraft from Boeing


7 June, 2005: Lion Air, Indonesia's privately owned budget airline is planning to acquire 60 Boeing planes with an expected investment of $3.9 billion for flying to new airports including Thailand, India and Australia. Lion Air plans to buy 737-800s and 737-900s and take on Garuda Indonesia, Indonesia's top airline in an aerial competition.

The airline is extending its operations and is also planning to compete with other low-cost airlines flying in the region like Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways, AirAsia, Virgin Blue and JetStar. 

The aircraft purchase is termed as one of the largest from Indonesia since the Asian financial meltdown. It is also seen as a reflection of rebound in Indonesia's economy and business. Indonesia, with a 238-million population is forecast to have an economic growth of as much as 6.2 per cent this year and an increase in travellers by over 10% in the next two years.

Lion Air is planning to take benefit out of lighter controls on landing rights in most of Asia. The government of Indonesia has started protecting its local airlines by restricting overseas budget carriers from adding new routes to four important Indonesian cities, including capital Bangkok.

The Lion Air aircraft order gives Boeing an edge over Airbus Industrie in orders in 2005, after being behind the Airbus in the last four years. Boeing has bagged deals for 218 new planes through May 17. Airbus had orders for 145 aircraft through the end of April.

Lion Air, with cheaper air fares and flights to popular Indonesian destinations, had made inroads in the Inodnesian market. The airline has flights to 22 Indonesian cities, apart from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City. 



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