UPDATE 2-Lion Air looks to fill 'thin' routes with Bombardier C300s

Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:55am EDT
 
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* Lion Air is talking to Bombardier to buy a "double-digit" number of C300 jets

* Lion Air could place an order by the end of the year

* The C300's capacity makes it ideal for routes where passengers don't quite fill 737-800s

MONTREAL, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Indonesia's Lion Air is looking to fill "thin" routes with Bombardier Inc's C300 jets, as it challenges Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd in Southeast Asia's quick-growing market for budget travel.

Chief executive Rusdi Kirana told Reuters the airline is in talks to buy a "double-digit" number of C300s, rather than more narrow-body Boeing Co 737s or Airbus A320s, because their size offers lower operating cost per trip on so-called thin routes where passengers don't quite fill the larger planes.

Lion Air is considering issues such as after-sales support, and could place an order by the end of the year, a spokesman said.

The airline has been on a shopping spree as it looks to capitalise on Indonesia's rising consumer class who are increasingly hopping between myriad islands of the world's fourth-most populous country, whilst it competes internationally with the likes of AirAsia.

Lion Air has a fleet of 737s and ATR's 72-seat ATR 72, and has over 500 A320s and 737s on order. Another aircraft type will add only "minimal" cost, CEO and co-founder Kirana said after visiting a CSeries factory at Mirabel, Quebec, on Thursday.

The CS300, which has a list price of around $80 million, can seat up to 160 passengers. This makes it ideal for routes where demand isn't enough to fill the 189 seats of a 737-800, but exceeds the capacity of an ATR 72, a spokesman said.   Continued...