Human affairs are not serious, but they have to be
taken seriously. Iris Murdoch (1919 b.) Anglo-Irish author:
Cameron in Indonesia to finalise Airbus deal
INDONESIA: British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived Wednesday in
Indonesia, where he will finalise a $2.5 billion deal between Garuda and
Airbus as the European plane maker looks to tap the growing economy.
The trip is the latest leg of Cameron’s trade mission around Asia,
along with a posse of businessmen, as he looks to offset sluggish growth
at home and in the troubled European economy.
“The $2.5 billion deal for 11 A330-300 planes will be signed later
today at the presidential palace,” Garuda president Emirsyah Satar told
Indonesia’s presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told AFP the deal
with the airline, which is majority owned by the state, would be the
“highlight” of Cameron’s visit.
The agreement is the second inside a year between the two after
Garuda ordered 25 medium-range A320 Airbus planes for a catalogue price
of $2.18 billion.
The latest deal will be a boost to Garuda as it embarks on an
expansion drive less than two years after the EU lifted a ban on the
airline operating in European airspace over safety fears.
It will also be more than welcome for Airbus, which has only secured
firm orders for 90 planes in the first quarter of 2012, compared with
more than 400 for US rival Boeing.
Cameron will also likely push military sales, after Britain banned
defence exports to Indonesia in 1999 following accusations that
British-made Hawk fighters were used in counter-insurgency attacks in
East Timor, then an Indonesian province.
“Britain makes some of the best defence equipment in the world and it
is reasonable that it is available to Indonesia, under the very same
criteria that we apply to all our partners around the world,” Cameron
told the Kompas daily before arriving, in comments reported in the
He visits Indonesia as Southeast Asia’s biggest and fastest growing
economy continues to make huge strides since the 1997 Asian financial
crisis, emerging as the region’s most lucrative market for international
An expanding middle class, strong growth -- the economy expected to
expand 6.5 percent this year -- political stability and the need to link
the resource-rich islands are fuelling a travel boom.
In February, Indonesian carrier Lion Air formally signed a $22.4
billion deal for 230 Boeing aircraft, the single largest contract in
commercial aviation history.
It also announced it was buying 27 smaller ATR 72-600 turboprop
aircraft from the European manufacturer, in a $610 million deal.
The prime minister’s tour -- which has also taken in Japan and will
be followed Thursday with a trip to Malaysia and Myanmar -- also comes
amid sluggish growth in Britain and a need to tout for new business in
fast-growing Asia to kickstart the economy.
Around 140,000 jobs are generated in Britain by Airbus, a European
“There is a huge potential for the UK and Indonesia to run business
together. However, we’ve just come to realise that (potential),” Kompas
quoted Cameron saying in its interview.
Britain’s trade with Indonesia grew from $2.63 billion in 2010 to
$2.89 billion last year. British investment in Indonesia, hit by
Europe’s economic slowdown, fell dramatically from $1.89 billion in 2010
to just $419 million last year.