Lion Air Expands Subsidiaries’ Fleets With 36 Additional Airplanes
Indonesian carrier Lion Mentari Airlines is set to expand its fleet next year with 36 airplanes for its subsidiaries Wings Air and Malindo Airways.
The new airplanes will consist of 30 Boeings and six ATRs, which have a total value of $3 billion.
Edward Sirait, a director for general affairs at Lion Air, said that the company needs to boost its fleet to cope with rising air travel demand in Indonesia.
Lion forecasts the total number of air travelers to increase by 12.5 percent to 29 million people this year from 25.5 million last year.
Edward said that Lion will add an extra 30,000 seats ahead of Christmas and the year-end holiday period to accommodate the demand.
The flights include a number of Jakarta flights to popular destinations such as Denpasar, Medan, Manado, Ambon, Yogyakarta, Solo and Semarang.
Garuda Indonesia, the flag carrier, is also set to add seats for several flight destinations including Jakarta-Denpasar and Jakarta-Singapore, a Garuda spokesman said on Wednesday.
The company also aims to have 144 airplanes by 2015 under its Quantum Leap expansion program.
Indonesia is set to record a 13 percent increase in passenger numbers buoyed by a middle-class with increasingly elaborate travel tastes and the budgets to match.
Herry Gumay, director general of air transportation at the Transportation Ministry, said last month that the number of people taking to the skies in Indonesia will jump by 8 million to more than 70 million people this year.
The official said the growing economy and strong purchasing power has allowed more Indonesians to travel by air.
Indonesia’s economy, which has expanded by 6.2 percent in the third quarter of this year, is forecasted by the government to grow 6.5 percent this year.
Tengku Burhanudin, secretary general of the Indonesia National Air Carriers Association, said that the rate of air travel typically doubles with the pace of economic growth. Indonesia’s growing middle class prefers to take to the air with its newfound disposable income, he added.
The number of international air travelers rose 7.9 percent in the first eight months of this year, to seven million passengers, and the number of domestic air travelers increased 14 percent, to 24 million passengers, according to the Central Statistics Agency.
Tengku said that the government’s push to expand airport capacity showed that there is still room for growth in Indonesia.