Rusdi Kirana - Lion Air

Rusdi Kirana - Lion Air

Law Kian Yan  

A new generation

Rusdi Kirana started his career working in a bakery, making Black Forest cakes and croissants, before moving on to sell American “Brother” typewriters.

Together with his eldest brother Kusnan, he then started a travel agency in Indonesia. This venture spurred the duo to set up their own airline when they lost patience with the frequent delays and flight cancellations.

Today, Kusnan runs the mid-size travel agency while Rusdi focuses his time on the group’s airline operations in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The brothers inherited their entrepreneurial blood from their father, who used to own a small garment factory.

Kirana now spends a few days a week in Singapore, where his wife and youngest son live. Their older children – a 19-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son – are both studying in Seattle.

Kirana’s wish is for the younger generation to eventually take over the family business. He believes his youngest will be well suited to looking after Lion’s MRO operations in Batam, while his daughter will be a good fit for Lion’s leasing arm Transportation Partners. He is also training his 22-year-old nephew to eventually take over as chief of Lion Air.

His busy schedule leaves him with no time for hobbies. The businessman spends his days in Jakarta going from meeting to meeting and returns home to his beloved bulldog, Solo, at night. These days he takes a Lion flight from Jakarta to Batam to oversee the group’s MRO development before making his way to Singapore, using his newly-acquired yacht, to spend time with his wife.