Lion Air targets 60% share of Indonesia domestic market

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Indonesian low cost carrier Lion Air has ambitious plans for growing its domestic routes, and sees Singapore as a linchpin for its international ambitions.

In 2011 the company generated revenue of $1 billion, said Rusdi Kirana, president director of Lion. Its load factor during the year was 90% except in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ran from mid July to mid August.

He said the carrier enjoys a domestic market share of 47% and hopes to grow this to 60% by 2013. It flies to 63 cities in Indonesia.

Key to this growth will be additional frequencies. Lion now operates 16 daily flights on the Jakarta-Medan route using Boeing 737-900ER aircraft, for example, but will increase this to 24 when Medan's new airport opens in 2014, said Rusdi.

"Wherever you go in Indonesia there is significant demand for air travel. This demand doesn't exist only in big cities such as Surabaya, Bali, and Jakarta, but even in small cities with just a few 100,000 people."

In 2011 Lion flew 53 million passengers, up from just five million in 2000. He foresees Lion's passenger traffic continuing to grow 10-15% annually.

As for international flights, Rusdi said he hopes for greater liberalisation between Singapore and Indonesia, allowing Singapore carriers to operate to more cities in Indonesia, and granting fifth freedom rights for Indonesian carriers in Singapore.

He is particularly interested in operating flights between Singapore and India.

"We want to fly more from Singapore. I really hope the two governments can work together on this."