SINGAPORE–Indonesia’s fast-growing Lion Air, which earlier this week sealed a record US$22.4 billion deal for 230 Boeing jets, on Thursday ordered 27 smaller aircraft from European manufacturer ATR. The new ATR 72-600 turboprop planes, worth US$610 million, will be integrated into Lion Air unit Wings Air, with full delivery scheduled for the end of 2015, said an ATR statement issued at the Singapore Airshow. “The ATR aircraft are perfectly adapted to the Indonesian short-haul market and allows Wings Air to connect communities, even those located in remote areas,” said Rusdi Kirana, chairman of Wings Air and president of Lion Air. “Our fleet of ATR 72s is playing a major role in the development and democratization of the aviation services in Indonesia, bringing new travel possibilities, at low rates, to an increasing part of the population.” The Indonesian archipelago has a population of about 240 million scattered across more than 17,000 islands.
Filippo Bagnato, ATR’s chief executive, said the Indonesian airlines were the European company’s fastest-growing clients in Southeast Asia. The new planes will be used to develop new routes departing mainly from the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua, ATR said. Once delivered, the new aircraft will see the Lion Air group become the largest operator of ATR aircraft in the world, with a total fleet of 60 planes comprising 20 ATR 72-500s and 40 ATR 72-600s. The newly-ordered planes each have between 68 and 74 seats. The deal is the latest in a spending spree by Lion Air, which on Tuesday signed a US$22.4 billion deal for 230 Boeing 737 planes, the single-largest contract in commercial aviation history.