Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air aims to finalise an order for the Bombardier CSeries by end-2013, and expects to meet the airframer next month to work out the details.

The carrier is keen on the CS300, the largest variant in the CSeries family. Lion Air chief executive Rusdi Kirana says any order would be in the the double-digit range, with deliveries starting as early as 2016.

“The aircraft is suited for our operations,” said Kirana on the sidelines of the 38th ICAO general assembly in Montreal on 27 September. “It looks good, and we like what we saw.”

Kirana had previously visited Bombardier’s facilities near Montreal as part of his Canadian trip and was briefed on the new twinjet.

He anticipates that Bombardier executives will visit Lion Air in Jakarta in mid-October. “We are trying to close [the order] by year-end,” he says.

Kirana says it is too early to say which routes the CS300s will be operated on, adding that the airline needs time to study potential markets.

However the company later indicated that the CS300 could operate on long thin routes both domestically in Indonesia as it would slot in between the ATR 72 and Boeing 737-800.

Lion Air has made headlines in the past with massive orders for Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies. In March, it placed an order for 234 Airbus A320s, comprising both current-generation A320s and the re-engined A320neo family. This followed an earlier order for 201 Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

Kirana, however, plays down the prospects of a similarly sized commitment for the CSeries.

The baseline version of the CSeries family, the CS100, conducted its first flight on 16 September. An order from Lion Air would boost Bombardier’s orderbook for the new jet, which has ammassed only 177 firm orders so far.

Source: Flight International