Manado. Batik Air, the premium wing of Indonesia’s largest budget airline Lion Air, launched its services on Friday with a flight from Jakarta to Manado.
The Jakarta-Manado route is among four routes that the full-service airline will serve in the early stages of its operations. It will also have flights from Jakarta to Balikpapan, Ambon and Pekanbaru.
Batik Air president director Achmad Lutfiedi said last month that the airline would operate six Boeing 737-900 ER aircraft to serve the routes.
“At the beginning of 2014, we will bring in 24 new planes, comprising 12 Boeing 737-900 aircraft and 12 Airbus 320,” Achmad told Indonesian news portal kompas.com.
Batik Air earned an air operator’s certificate, which allows it to fly for commercial purposes, from Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation on April 25.
On Friday, upon landing at Manado’s Sam Ratulangi Airport, Achmad cited Manado’s rapid economic growth as the reason it picked the North Sulawesi capital among its initial destinations.
Each of the Boeing 737-900 ER aircraft already in operation has 180 seats, each equipped with a touch screen entertainment panel.
Meals and beverages are included in Batik Air’s “full services,” and the airline is planning to give its passengers access to the Internet and phone calls through a partnership with Indonesia’s largest mobile phone operator, Telkomsel.