Bombardier has been taking advantage of the ICAO conference in Montreal by inviting airline executives to Mirabel to see the CSeries, and a report in the Montreal Gazette indicates that Lion Air, (PT Lion Mentari Airlines) based in Indonesia, could order up to 100 aircraft by the Farnborough Air Show in mid-2014. The article indicates that they are interested in being the launch customer for the larger CS300 model, with deliveries from 2016-2021.At a press conference in Montreal, Lion Air president Rusdi Kirana indicated that the carrier is in talks with Bombardier regarding the CSeries, and after a tour of the CSeries with Mike Arcamone, President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, came away impressed. “The aircraft is beyond my expectations,” said Kirana, who added “I heard that the CSeries was a good aircraft, but when I saw it last night, it surprised me. I think the aircraft will be one for the future.”
The CEO indicated that deliveries would likely be spread over five years, and while not specifying an order size, indicated that “when I order, we are going to be the biggest at that time.” With Bombardier still 123 firm orders short of its goal of 300 by entry into service, a major order like this could make meeting their goal a virtual certainty.
Lion Air has invited Bombardier fleet planners to Indonesia to discuss how the aircraft can fit their route system, both for low-fare Lion Air and full fare Batik Air carriers operated by the airline. This could be a major breakthrough for CSeries in the Southeast Asian market, expanding the geographic penetration for CSeries.
There has been much speculation that first flight could significantly increase interest in the CSeries, and it appears that the aircraft is gaining more and more attention with key airline CEOs. We noticed several executives of airlines that are not current customers at the first flight ceremony last week. Now that the CSeries is no longer a “paper” airplane, it appears to be gaining some traction with potential customers.