Indonesia's Lion launching services to Saudi Arabia on 28 June

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Lion Air will be launching Boeing 747-400 operations on 28 June by starting a service to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

The Indonesian carrier has secured two Boeing 747-400s and its president director, Rusdi Kirana, says one is undergoing a 'C-check' at Indonesia's GMF AeroAsia and other is undergoing a 'C-check' at Malaysia Airlines Engineering & Maintenance.

He says on 28 June it will be launching a seven-times-weekly service from Jakarta to Jeddah and is looking at launching services to the Saudi city of Riyadh.

The frequency of flights to Jeddah will fluctuate according to demand, he adds.

Lion decided to venture into long-haul services to Saudi Arabia because it is a large under-served market, says Rusdi.

There were too few non-stop flights to Saudi Arabia so travellers were flying to Europe and other points in the Middle East before venturing to Saudi Arabia, he says.

The peak periods are during the Muslim festivals such as the Haj.

Rusdi says in some years there are as many of 700,000 Indonesians travelling to Saudi Arabia.