Kuala Lumpur - A new Malaysian airline said Tuesday it intends to buy 20 Bombardier CS100 aircraft in a $1.47 billion (about R18.2 billion @ R12.39/$) deal as it looks to tap
Southeast Asia's fast-growing travel market.
The new firm, flymojo, made the announcement at the start of the five-day International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in the Malaysian island of Langkawi.
The deal would mark the first sale in Southeast Asia of the Canadian company's new twin-engine, medium-range jet. It also includes the option to purchase a further 20 planes, possibly increasing the value to $2.94 billion.
The announcement comes after a devastating 12 months in the Malaysian aviation industry, which has seen the fatal loss of three airplanes.
The new airline will be based out of Johor Bahru, in Johor province, and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
"The announcement of a new airline in Malaysia is an exciting way to kick off LIMA," Aziz Kaprawi, deputy transport minister, said in a statement.
"With flymojo's primary hub at Senai International Airport, Johor and secondary hub in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, the airline's ultra-modern fleet of CS100 aircraft will play a key role in improving connectivity between the Peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak, as well as other parts of the region," he added.
The launch of the new airline will comes as much-needed welcome news for the country's aviation industry.
In March last year Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people on board went missing over the Indian Ocean and has still to be found.
Then in July, all 298 people on board another Malaysia Airlines 777 died when it came down in rebel-held territory in Ukraine. It was believed to have been hit by a surface-to-air missile.
And in December AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed in the Java Sea, killing 162 people on board.