Business

Mandala may return to skies
in mid-February

Mandala Airlines may resume flight services in February after financial woes halted operations in January 2011, according to a government official.

Transportation Ministry inspectors recently finished checking two Mandala aircraft at Singapore’s Changi International Airport, ministry airworthiness director Diding Sunardi said in Jakarta on
Tuesday.

“Mandala should be able to fly on Feb. 15. The whole inspection process has finished and the
airline’s Air Operator Certificate has entered the final [review] stage.” Diding said.

The airline, which intends to operate new Airbus A320s, must resume service by Feb. 15 or its AOC would be revoked, Diding added.

“Mandala should be concerned about the timeframe that we have given.”

Separately, Saratoga Capital investment manager Devin Wirawan said Mandala was ready.

“We are ready to fly on Feb. 15 as requested by the government. We are now just waiting for the AOC
issuance,” Devin said.

Saratoga Capital currently controls 51 percent of Mandala, Singapore-based Tiger Airways owns 33 percent and other creditors hold the remaining 16 percent through a debt-to-equity swap.

Devin said that Mandala would follow provisions of the Aviation Law that obliged an aviation company to have at least 10 aircraft — five owned and five rented — to start operations.

“We will have 10 aircraft within one year,” he said.

Mandala would resume service on its existing 16 domestic routes, including Jakarta-Denpasar and Jakarta-Balikpapan, and four international routes, including Jakarta-Singapore.

Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono said the return of Mandala showed that the domestic airlines business would be stronger this year.

“The variety of airlines and services that they offer will increase passenger satisfaction,” Bambang said.

According to the data from airport operators Angkasa Pura 1 and Angkasa Pura 2, local airlines serve 125 million passengers a year, he said. (nfo)

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