More great news for those of us whose goal is a career as an international airline pilot: The Asia aviation market continues to grow very rapidly. Lion Mentari Airlines, the Indonesian low-cost carrier is buying 60 Boeing 737-800 and 737-900 aircraft. The airline’s strategy is to become a major player in Southeast Asia’s regional, budget-priced airline industry. This is an important venture for Indonesia. The cost of these new planes is a whopping U.S. $3.9 billion, or approximately U.S. $65 million per plane. Airbus and BAE Systems PLC lost the deal; Lion already flies several Boeing models and preferred a more unified fleet for efficiency and cost-savings.
Why is this significant? It’s the first large order for new jets from Indonesia since the country’s late- 1990’s financial crisis and indicates its desire to be a major international carrier. Closely-held Lion Air has grown rapidly since its 2000 inception, when Indonesia deregulated its airline industry. Lion is now the 2nd largest carrier in the country in terms of passengers carried, after Garuda Indonesia.
Lion serves 17 destinations in Indonesia plus Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
This order adds to Lions current fleet of 34 planes, though some of these new planes will most certainly replace aging existing jets, which may then be transferred to Lion’s aircraft-leasing business in Singapore.