Planemaker ATR to sign nearly $1bn order with Lion Air

27th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

European planemaker ATR signed Thursday an order for 40 of its 72-600 aircraft with Indonesian airline Lion Air, valued at nearly $1 billion based on catalogue prices.

The contract brings to 100 the number of ATR 72-600 propeller-driven planes ordered by Lion Air, which becomes the planemaker's biggest client.

"This deal is very important for us," Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said after the deal was signed, adding it would help the revival of Italian industry.

ATR is co-owned by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus Group and Italy's industrial group Finmeccania.

The company is the leading builder of propeller-driven regional passenger aircraft, but has long been in financial difficulty.

Rusdi Kirana, chief executive of the fast-growing low-cost airline, earlier pointed to the 72-passenger plane's suitability for travel in the sprawling Indonesian archipelago with small airports and short landing strips, Indonesian news website reported.

"This is a modern plane with economical fuel usage," quoted him as saying.

He said the new order of 40 planes would be delivered between 2017 and 2019.

The airline had just one plane 13 years ago but roared onto the international map by placing the world's biggest airliner order of 230 Boeing 737 aircraft for $22.4 billion (16.6 billion euros). In March 2013 it ordered 234 Airbus A320 airliners for 18.4 billion euros.

With more than 17,500 islands, passenger air transport has been growing at an average 20 percent or more per year in Indonesia.

© 2014 AFP

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