Lion Air Takes Option For 15 ATR 72s

February 25, 2011

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Aircraft maker ATR has signed a deal to supply 15 ATR 72 planes to Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air, France's economy minister Christine Lagarde said on Friday.

A Lion Air spokesman said the 15 ATR 72-500 planes were an optional part of a USD$650 million deal in 2009 to supply up to 30 planes, and would be delivered in 2012-2013. The first 15 planes would be fully delivered this year, the spokesman said.

Lagarde, in Jakarta meeting government officials, said at a press conference that French companies want to increase investment and trade with Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

ATR, jointly owned by EADS and Finmeccanica, has predicted a step up in revenues and deliveries from 2012 after reporting the first signs of recovery in aviation markets last year.

Manufacturers say that turbo-props are more efficient than jets when carrying some 50-70 passengers over short distances, especially when fuel prices are high. Oil prices have surged following turmoil in the Middle East.

Lion Air is Indonesia's biggest airline by passenger volume and has ambitious expansion plans, in a country seeing strong demand for domestic flights around the archipelago.

The ATR planes will be used by Lion Air unit Wings Air, to serve short routes.

(Reuters)