Nov 30, 2012

Indonesia - Four new domestic carriers set to fly Indonesia's skies in 2013

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Four new domestic airlines are scheduled to begin commercial flights in 2013, giving travellers more alternatives when travelling to domestic and regional destinations.

The Transportation Ministry’s air transportation director, Djoko Murjatmodjo, said in Jakarta on Thursday that the new airlines were Batik Air, Nam Air, Kartika Airlines and Jatayu Air.

“The airlines are currently processing their flight permits and AOC [Air Operator Certificates]. Batik Air is likely to be the first carrier to fly next year, because they have already obtained their flight permit,” Djoko told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta on Thursday.

Batik Air, a subsidiary of Indonesia's largest low cost airline, Lion Air, obtained its flight permit in mid-September and has obtained approval to fly 66 domestic and 20 international routes.

According to Djoko, Batik Air expects to start service in May using Boeing 737-900 Extended Range (ER) aircraft.

The other airlines would begin operating in the third and fourth quarter of 2013, Djoko said. “They are still processing their flight permits, so they will need more time than Batik before starting business,” he said.

Nam Air is a subsidiary of privately-owned Sriwijaya Air, the third-largest domestic carrier in the country after Lion Air and national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia. Nam Air will become a full service airline, operating 20 Brazilian-made Embraer 190s to serve airports with short runways.

In addition, Kartika Airlines will operate Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100s and Jatayu Air plans to operate Boeing 737s. Both carriers plan to enter the full service market, too, Djoko said.

Kartika Airlines and Jatayu Air are not new players in the country’s aviation industry, having previously offered domestic services in the early 2000s before halting operations.

According to ministry spokesman Bambang S. Ervan, Kartika started operating from Indonesia’s main gateway, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, in 2001 and stopped service in June 2010, when its flight permit was frozen, requiring the carrier to obtain a new permit before resuming service. Meanwhile, Jatayu Air’s permit was revoked by the ministry in 2007 for failing to comply with safety regulations, he said.

Contacted separately, Kartika Airlines’ commercial director, Aditya Wardhana, said the airline expected to take delivery of two of 30 Sukhoi Superjet 100s by May 2013.

“In the first phase, we are going to operate 10 Sukhois up to May 2014 to serve medium-haul domestic routes. We will run our operations in the east,” Aditya told the Post over the telephone.

Aditya said that the jets would operate from the airline’s hubs in Makassar, South Sulawesi, and Surabaya, East Java.

Meanwhile, Sky Aviation is expected to immediately put its aircraft into operation.

According to the data provided by the ministry’s air transportation directorate general, air passenger traffic in Indonesia has grown at an annual rate of about 20 percent over the last several years, due partly to the entrance of budget airlines.

Last year, for example, the total number of air passengers reached 139.1 million, up 27.5 per cent compared to 109.3 million passengers in 2010. Bambang said that the annual number of air passengers was expected to increase to more than 145 million passengers by the end of this year and would likely increase by 15 per cent in 2013.

According to ministry data, commercial airlines have started to enter the secondary city market in force this year, helping the economy to grow more in those cities.

For example, Wings Air, the feeder airline for Lion Air, currently offers a Jakarta–Banyuwangi service and Susi Air has recently connected Cilacap, Central Java, with three surrounding major cities: Yogyakarta, Surakarta and Semarang.

Privately owned Sriwijaya Air also connects Malang, East Java, with Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Nurfika Osman

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