The chartered flight services business is projected to flourish next year not only because of increasing demand from the travel market, but also due to the upcoming election period, which will see many people charter aircraft to
assist their campaigns.
Indonesian National Air Carrier Association (INACA) non-scheduled services division head Denon Prawiraatmadja said the business would see double-digit growth throughout 2014 as some players had already agreed to contracts with people involved in the election campaign.
'The growth of the chartered service sector has been healthy for the past five years, thanks to the economy, and the election is going to further spur traffic and increase the utilization of aircraft,' Denon said, adding the sector had seen 6 to 7 percent growth annually since 2009.
'This service will be very popular next year as it gives customers flexibility to choose when they want to fly without having to transit via some airport hubs like scheduled carriers, which is very suitable for those conducting
The association predicted demand for non-scheduled service, which is currently provided by 40 domestic players, would continue to be high until the election period ended as it was considered a lifestyle for some, especially businesspeople and politicians.
In addition, aviation expert Dudi Sudibyo said the increasing growth of the chartered business was supported by the recent development of air transportation infrastructure at 22 points across the archipelago conducted by the Transportation Ministry, such as Muaro Bungo in Jambi, Enggano in Bengkulu, Waisa in West Papua's Raja
Ampat and Murung Raya in Central Kalimantan.
Dudi said the opening of these small airports, with runways less than 1,000 meters in length, was helping chartered flight services to thrive, as scheduled carriers that operated jets such as Boeing and Airbus would not be able
to land there.
Separately, CEO and owner of PT ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation (Susi Air) Susi Pudjiastuti said the airline expected to see at least 10 percent business growth next year in its chartered flight services.
'This service will be very popular next year as it gives customers flexibility to choose when they want to fly without having to transit via some airport hubs...'
'We see higher demand in our chartered business division due to the election and we predict it will also impact our regular commercial services since we fly to places where scheduled airlines do not,' Susi told The Jakarta Post.
She said the airline, which currently operated 49 aircraft such as Cessna Grand Caravan C208B, Piaggio Avanti II P180 and Pilatus Porter PC-6, was projected to transport around 10,000 people a month next year, up by 10 percent on this year.
She also said the company would add six more aircraft and open Bandung'Pangandaran and Cilacap'Semarang routes next year to accommodate surging demand from the market.
In line with Susi Air, Lion Group's corporate secretary Ade Simanjuntak said the group's Lion Biz Jet had seen more orders from customers for next year.
Ade said some companies involved in the plantation, oil and mining industry and businesspeople had chartered two units of their nine-seat Hawker Beechcraft XP-900 planes for a time period ranging between 100 and 200 hours.
'By seeing this demand, we're optimistic our chartered service business will be stronger next year and in the future. We're going to focus on improving our level of services to capture the market,' she said, adding that the trend of using private jets among local customers had grown for leisure purposes such as shopping and
Despite the healthy demand, however, she said Lion Biz Jet did not have an immediate plan to add more aircraft in 2014.
Meanwhile, Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang S. Ervan said the number of planes registered under Air Operator Certificate 135 (AOC 135), or those which had a capacity of less than 30 passengers and were operated by non-scheduled airlines, kept increasing every year.
He said the population of chartered planes, including helicopters, had risen from 154 in 2008 to 196 in 2012.
'We expect more planes to be registered in the future as every carrier is expanding its fleet to tap into the growth,' he said.
Good prospects in non-scheduled services have led national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, which recently announced its plan to operate remote services with Avions Transport Regional ATR72-600 planes, to expand into this
Garuda vice president of communication Pujobroto said the carrier was waiting for the right opportunity to enter the sector.