Batik Air to start operations on 3 May

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Indonesia's Lion Air is gearing up for the launch of Batik Air, its second new airline in less than two months.

Batik, a full-service carrier, will start operations on 3 May, says low-cost carrier Lion's president director Rusdi Kirana.

This comes after Lion's Malaysia-based joint venture Malindo Air started operations on 22 March.

Batik is likely to be officially launched on 17 April and get its air operator's certificate (AOC) by 19 April, Kirana tells Flightglobal Pro.

The airline, which will target the Indonesian domestic full service market, will start with twice daily Jakarta-Manado services. This will be followed by services from Jakarta to Balikpapan and Pekanbaru, adds Kirana.

With these services, Batik will be squarely up against two established full-service carriers, Indonesian flag carrier Garuda and Sriwijaya Air. Lion also operates its low-cost services on these routes.

Batik's first Boeing 737-900ER is likely to arrive on 16 April, followed by a second on 20 April. In May, another two 737-900ERs will be delivered, says Kirana.

Lion pushed back Batik's launch from March to May in order to let Malindo begin operations first. Lion had said that Batik is likely to base its aircraft in Manado, a city in the northern region of Indonesia's Sulawesi island, and will first serve domestic and regional routes.

There are plans to grow the size of its fleet to 100 aircraft within 10 years. To facilitate its ambitious growth plans, Lion placed an order for 234 Airbus A320 family aircraft in March. It already has 87 737s and 2 747s in operation and another 323 737s on order.