More airliners to start up in Indonesia
Indonesia may see two newcomers in the full-service airline industry next year and another airline upgrading to the semi-full service class, the Transportation Ministry said on Wednesday.
Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said the newcomers were Pacific Royale Airways Indonesia and Lion Air’s Space Jet, with Sriwijaya Air upgrading to semi-full service.
Sriwijaya Air is currently categorized as a “medium service airline,” only serving light snacks during its flights. The designation refers to the variety services offered on board, such as meals and baggage allowance and in-flight entertainment.
Bambang said Pacific Royale was issued a license in November. The carrier is 51 percent owned by Indonesian businesswoman Gunarni Gunawan, with the remainder resting in the hands of Indian investors.
Gunarni also owns 51 percent of marketing company Travel Ventures International Express.
The ministry spokesman said Pacific Royale would begin operations “in January at the earliest” with a fleet of 10 aircraft — five Fokker-50 turboprop airliners and five leased Airbus A320 jets.
“Lion Air is planning to introduce its full-service airline, named Space Jet. Sriwijaya has also announced its intention to move to a semi-full service airline,” Bambang added.
Sriwijaya spokesman Agus Soedjono said the airline would offer a business class in its new fleet of Boeing 737-500s and 737-800NGs in March or April.
“We’re just introducing business class. We’re not yet a full-service airline,” Agus said.
He added that Sriwijaya would gradually replace 12 of its Boeing 737-200 and 737-300 aircraft with Boeing 737-500s. “We will also add four 737-800NGs for international destinations. Next year, the company will have 35 airplanes” Agus said.
He also said Sriwijaya would allocate eight business-class seats in each of its planes while focusing on increasing the frequency of its domestic flights and expanding its routes.
“The airline industry is thriving. Passenger numbers increase every year, and this year we expect to fly 8 million passengers, up from 7.2 million passengers last year,” Agus said. He did not provide 2012 estimates.
Low-cost carrier Lion Air, which made a record-breaking deal in November with an order of 200 Boeing planes worth a total of $21.7 billion, will set up Space Jet as its full-service airline sometime in 2012 or early 2013, said its general director, Edward Sirait.
Space Jet will fly six Boeing 737-900ERs taken from Lion Air, Edward said, adding that the fleet would increase to 12 by 2014.
Lion Air currently operates 92 planes. It aims to fly 27 million passengers this year, up from 20 million last year.
The number of domestic air passengers in Indonesia jumped to 38.3 million in the first nine months of this year, while the number of international air travelers rose 15 percent to 8.1 million, according to Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data.