Underlining how big a deal this was, the presidential palace in Paris was the venue for the signing of a contract by Indonesia’s Lion Air for 234 Airbus planes.
The rapidly expanding budget carrier’s boss, Rusdi Kirana, was feted by the French president over the order in which Airbus is poaching one of arch-rival Boeing’s customers.
The European plane makers’ Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier said it is worth 18.4 billion euros: “We will be sealing the largest single order ever recorded by Airbus to date, both in terms of value and number of aircraft involved”.
Lion Air Chief Executive Rusdi Kirana added: “Today we declare our commitment and optimism to make a bold decision for the future with this firm order of 234 aircraft from Airbus”
The first planes are due to be delivered next year: This success followed at least three previous attempts by Airbus to woo Lion Air away from Boeing.
With rising incomes and a growing middle class boosting air traffic.. Southeast Asia has emerged as one of the most fertile airliner markets.
Indonesia’s domestic aviation market, serving the world’s fourth
largest population, is growing at 21 percent annually.
The rising importance of Asian budget carriers also has major implications for high-tech manufacturing jobs, which France desperately needs.
President Francois Hollande said: “The big Airbus contracts are an example for our economy of what it can do, what it must do, in terms of competitivity, in terms of research and innovation. In terms of training of personnel, also in terms of commercialisation.”