The Transportation Ministry has recently issued a flight permit to a new, full-service airline, Batik Air, a subsidiary of the country’s largest domestic carrier, Lion Air.
Ministry spokesman Bambang S. Ervan said the permit was signed by the air transportation director general Herry Bhakti Gumay last month. “We have issued the permit to Batik Air a few days ago. The airline has been approved to fly 66 domestic routes and 20 international routes,” Bambang said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Contacted separately, Lion Air general affairs director Edward Sirait confirmed that the company has received the permit.
He said that they are currently formulating plans to enter the full-service market while waiting for the Air Operator Certificate (AOC). “We are currently preparing every single detail for Batik Air, as well as processing its AOC. We hope the process will be complete in early 2013 as planned,” Edward told The Jakarta Post on the phone.
He said that the company was on track to launch Batik Air’s first flight in March next year.
In addition, he said the new airline would help strengthen the company’s international network in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australia.
“Batik Air will connect Jakarta, Medan, Denpasar, and Manado to major cities in ASEAN, East Asia, and Australia,” he said.
Currently, Lion Air provides daily flights to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Jeddah. It will use Boeing 737-900 Extended Range (ER) aircrafts during the launch, and the B787 Dreamliners in the next few years.
He said the wide-bodied Dreamliners, which are suitable for long haul international routes, are expected to begin operation in the middle of 2015.
The new airline’s aircraft livery would use a batik motif, which would distinguish it from any other airline.
According to recent data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of domestic air passengers in the first seven months of 2012 reached 31 million, a 3.31 percent increase from the same period last year. International routes recorded 6.8 million passengers from January to July this year, up 9.2 percent from the same period last year.
Lion Air has also entered the private jet service by operating two Hawker jets this year. The no-frills airline signed a contract with Hawker Beechcraft Corporation worth US$64 million to purchase two Hawker 900XP mid-size business jets during the Singapore Airshow in February.