Batik Air non-committal on 787s

Singapore
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Batik Air says it is still in negotiations with Boeing regarding the 787s, and is also evaluating larger widebody aircraft.

Speaking to reporters in Singapore, its chief executive Achmad Luthfie says that the 787 "is still in the running".

"Our team is still in negotiations with Boeing. We still have a problem with the performance of the aircraft," he says.

Should the full-service carrier induct the 787s into its fleet, the aircraft will be deployed on routes to China and also cities such as Perth and Brisbane in Australia, he adds.

Achmad's comments come after Lion Air's president director Rusdi Kirana told reporters last month that he will likely convert the group's order for five 787s into a 737 order. Before this, both Batik and Lion's Malaysian joint venture Malindo Air had expressed interest in adding the 787 into their fleets.

Kirana also said that Lion plans to place an order for widebody aircraft in a year's time, and is looking at jets larger than the 787. The aircraft will help with its domestic expansion, particularly at slot constrained airports such as Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International airport.

Achmad would not disclose the widebody aircraft types Batik is evaluating, but says the carrier does sees a need for a jet larger than the 787.

"But which one, the performance, pricing, we still need to look [at]," he says, adding that the carrier would likely need the aircraft in 2016 or 2017.

Batik operates a fleet of six Boeing 737-900ERs, and will add another 10 narrowbodies to its fleet this year. Achmad adds that the narrowbodies are being utilised 15 hours a day, and have had a consistent load factor of 90%.