Lion Air (JT, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has committed to take four A330-900s with deliveries scheduled for 2019, becoming the type's maiden Asian operator, CAPA has reported. Two of the units will be operated by the carrier's subsidiary Thai Lion Air (SL, Bangkok Don Mueang).

The Lion Air units will be configured in a single-class seating, while the Thai subsidiary will equip the aircraft with a two-class layout.

Lion Air already operates three A330-300s, while Thai Lion Air has a further three units of the type.

The two Lion Air Group units have taken over the position of maiden Asian operator of the type from AirAsia X (D7, Kuala Lumpur Int'l), which continues to negotiate the terms and performance of the sixty-six A330-900s it has ordered. Initially slated for delivery in 2018, these jets are now not going to deliver to Malaysia before 2020 or possibly later.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes has repeatedly questioned the deal with Airbus and hinted at ordering rival Boeing's B787s, only to later reaffirm his intention to add the A330neos. According to Reuters, the last round of talks between Fernandes and Airbus executives on July 5 did not lead to an agreement as to the terms of the delivery.

AirAsia X is key for the A330neo success as its sixty-six orders constitute over a quarter of all orders placed to date.

Airbus is now in the final stages of certifying the A330-900. The type's global launch operator will be TAP Air Portugal. Air Mauritius, Air Sénégal, Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, Delta Air Lines, RwandAir, and WOW air are also due to be among the first operators of the type.