Batik Air to launch in late 2013 with 737-900ERs

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Lion Air's new premium carrier Batik Air will commence operations in the third quarter of 2013, several months later than planned, with two to four Boeing 737-900ER aircraft.

Although Batik's launch will only occur in the third quarter of 2013 and five Boeing 787-8 aircraft originally for Batik are going to Lion's Malaysian joint venture, Lion president director Kirana says Batik is likely to have a fleet of 100 aircraft within 10 years.

"The idea was to start Batik in March 2013, but it will be in the third quarter 2013," says Kirana.

Initially, it will have between two and four 737-900ER aircraft, says Kirana. "We hope that by 2013, when Boeing gives us 30 [737-300ERs], we can do more for Batik."

Kirana adds that Lion has discussed buying 10 787-9 aircraft, but that it is also considering Airbus A330 or A350 aircraft. Some of these aircraft could be deployed to Batik.

Lion's joint venture in Malaysia, Malindo Airways, has taken precedence over Batik. Kuala Lumpur-based Malindo was originally intended to be launched in May 2013, but this was moved forward as a result of Lion's need for a hub that can provide onward services for passengers seeking to fly to northern destinations such as China and Thailand.

"We need the hub more urgently than point-to-point domestic services," says Kirana.