Garuda Indonesia is set to confirm an order for Bombardier regional jets in the next few weeks, most likely at the Singapore Airshow on 14-19 February.
Indonesia's flag carrier had been assessing both the Bombardier CRJ1000 and Embraer 190 for its 18-aircraft sub-100 seat regional jet requirements since early 2011.
It decided on the CRJ a few weeks ago and an announcement is imminent, said an industry source familiar with the negotiation.
The decision is a major boost for Bombardier, which has been flagging behind its Brazilian rival in the regional jet market.
The Canadian company had a net order for only four of its CRJ-series of aircraft, while the backlog for the three months to 31 October 2011 fell to 52 aircraft from 61 at the end of June last year.
In addition, this is a blow to Embraer, which was hoping to secure a deal with Garuda after Indonesian carrier Sriwijaya placed a firm order for 20 E-190s in 2011.
Bombardier pushed its aircraft very strongly in Indonesia, flying down a CRJ700 to Jakarta in August last year for flight demonstrations. While the airframer has both the smaller CRJ700 and CRJ900 in its portfolio, Garuda's preference is believed to be for the CRJ1000.
The aircraft will be based at four Garuda hubs, namely Balikpapan, Denpasar, Ujung Pandang and Makassar, to support the mainline carrier's services, Garuda's president director Emirsyah Satar told Flightglobal Pro last year.
"Regional jets will give us a lot of autonomy as there are fast-growing cities within Indonesia that require direct connections," said Satar.
"If you want to fly from Balikpapan and Banjarmasin, it is tough to operate larger aircraft, but a regional jet would fit such low-density and high-yield routes," Satar added.
Garuda hopes to have a fleet of 153 aircraft by 2015, almost double the 86 aircraft that it now operates, according to Flightglobal's ACAS database.
Apart from the regional jets, these will include 10 Boeing 777-300ERs, 18-20 Airbus A330s and four dedicated freighters. The remainder will comprise Boeing 737-800s.
Source: Air Transport Intelligence news