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Hush, My Darling, Don't Fear The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Indonesian Airline Looks to be a Cat with A Sizeable Appetite for Buying Up Other Carriers in the Region.

(11/12/2007) After placing one of the largest orders in history for 122 new Boeing 737-900ER in 2006, Indonesia upstart airline Lion Air is publicly stating its regional ambitions for bigger things.

Lion Air has told the press that they have plans for airline acquisitions in Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam. To this end, according to the Public Relations Manager of Lion Air, Hasyim Arsal Alhabsi, amounts of between US$50-100 million per new airline acquisition have been set aside for expenditure in early 2008.

In a business plan successfully pioneered by rival Air Asia, Lion Air hopes to gain immediate access to lucrative domestic markets in each of the targeted countries and the related "feeder" potential offered by an integrated regional air network.

Lion Air told Kompas that they are also open to establishing new "start up" airlines in neighboring countries, but much prefer the acquisition of carriers already in operation.

Lion Air plans to deploy its large number of new aircraft on its Indonesian network and the route of the soon-to-be-acquired regional airlines. Of the 122 airplanes on order - 7 have been delivered in 2007; 12 will arrive in 2008; 14 more planes come on line in 2009; 14 in 2010; 24 in 2011; 36 in 2012 and the remaining 15 in 2012.

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