By Gilang Al Farisi
Most people would associate cheap airlines with bad service, and most of the time that would prove to be true, but no longer in the case of Lion Air. The airline has now announced the opening of 10 new domestic routes in an effort to capture a bigger share of the local market.
Lion Air will operate a new flight from Hang Nadim International Airport in Riau Islands’ Batam to Radin Inten II Airport in Lampung’s capital and economic hub of Bandar Lampung. The airline has also completed its first flight from Supadio International Airport in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, to Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung, West Java. And it has completed its maiden flight from Adisutjipto International Airport in Yogyakarta to Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II in Palembang, South Sumatra.
Apart from the new routes, Lion Air will operate more flights from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to Yogyakarta, Surabaya in East Java and the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, and from Batam to Pontianak.
Lion’s affiliate Wings Air has not been left in the dust, and has started to operate several new flight routes as well. Wings Air will fly from Kualanamu International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, to Sultan Thaha Airport in Jambi, and from Wiriadinata Airport in Tasikmalaya, West Java, to Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma.
It will also start flying from Halim Perdanakusuma Airport to Bandung; from Bandung to Malang, East Java; and from Malang to Makassar, South Sulawesi. The airline has also started flying from East Kalimantan’s Balikpapan to Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan, and from Makassar in South Sulawesi to Raha in Muna Island, Southeast Sulawesi.
The Lion Group has also been hard at work to strengthen its fleet. It has received its first eight Boeing 737 MAX-8. The planes are set to expand flight routes and reach more distant destinations, while at the same time remaining affordable for the client base.
Lion will be the first airline in Indonesia to operate the aircraft, which offers the lowest seat cost in its class.
The airliner is also in the process of ordering four Boeing 737 MAX-9 and 50 Boeing 737 MAX-10 aircraft to strengthen its fleet.
Apart from opening more domestic routes for the group’s expansion, Lion Group has also added a new direct international flight.
The successful inaugural flight from Changsa in China to Batam in the Riau Islands marked is the result of a partnership between Lion Air and Eco Indo Travel, a travel agency owned by the Jetwings Group. The group has also introduced direct flights from secondary cities in China, such as Wuhan, Macau, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Shanghai.
Another milestone was the receipt by Lion Air of certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its maintenance and repair (MRO) facility in Batam. The FAA has concluded that the facility has met its standards in providing maintenance and repairs. The achievement not only provides a big opportunity for the brand to be recognized globally, but also gives the Indonesian flight industry a big boost to expand operations.