Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Airbus Wins Foothold in Indonesia ; Record $24 Billion Order from Low-Cost Carrier Comes in Boeing Territory

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Airbus Wins Foothold in Indonesia ; Record $24 Billion Order from Low-Cost Carrier Comes in Boeing Territory

Article excerpt

The first of the 234 airplanes would be delivered in 2014, Airbus officials say, as the company gains a foothold in the booming Southeast Asian market that is usually seen as Boeing territory.

Airbus said Monday that it had received a record order for $24 billion worth of new single-aisle jets from the Indonesian low-cost airline Lion Air, a significant inroad for the European plane maker into one of the fastest-growing air travel markets in Asia that until now has been dominated by its American rival, Boeing.

The firm order, for 234 of the company's A320- and A321-series jets, was announced by high-level executives of Airbus and Lion Air at a ceremony in Paris overseen by President Francois Hollande of France. The deal represents the largest single order of Airbus jets, both by value and number of planes.

Rusdi Kirana, the travel entrepreneur who founded Lion Air with his brother Kusnan in 2000, said the deal was the carrier's first order from Airbus and included 60 current-generation A320s as well as 174 of a forthcoming series of A320s and A321s that will be fitted with more fuel-efficient engines. Deliveries of the first planes, which sell for $92 million to $117 million each at list prices, were expected to begin in 2014.

The signing ceremony in the gilt halls of the Elysee Palace served to kick off a series of events planned by the government this week aimed at promoting the manufacturing industry in France, which is struggling amid the economic downturn in Europe. Airbus has its headquarters and final assembly lines in the Toulouse area of France.

Mr. Hollande said the volume of the aircraft order was a sign of "the vitality of the Indonesian economy" and held up Airbus as "an example of what we want to achieve across all of our industries" in France and elsewhere across Europe. The Lion Air contract, Mr. Hollande added, was expected to guarantee at least 5,000 European aerospace jobs over the next 10 years.

Despite only modest signs of a global economic recovery, many of the world's established airlines are continuing to order jets at a rapid pace as they seek to upgrade to more energy-efficient models amid stubbornly high fuel prices. …

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