Lion Air says it has decided to make Batam its second major hub after Jakarta, a move that could help alleviate some congestion at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
Lion now serves 15 domestic destinations from Batam's Hang Nadim International Airport, and is aiming to eventually expand its network to serve 20 domestic destinations from this new hub.
"The reason we chose Batam as an air hub is because of its strategic location," says Lion's president director Rusdi Kirana at the opening of its Batam MRO facility.
"People wishing to travel between western Indonesia and eastern Indonesia can transit in Batam without needing to transit in Jakarta."
He adds that the flight time between east and west Indonesia is also cut down when the transit is done in Batam, which will translate into fuel savings for the airline.
To boost its domestic network from Batam, Lion will be launching a daily service on the Batam-Pontianak route from 29 Jan. It also aims to start services to Makassar and Denpasar.
Next year, it targets to start international services from its new hub. The plan is to link Batam to cities in southern China such as Guangzhou and Hong Kong, Bangkok in Thailand, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and also destinations in India.
Flightglobal's FlightMap Analytics shows that Lion is already the dominant carrier operating from Batam. Key destinations it serves from there include Jakarta and Medan. The carrier has cited the airport's spare capacity with quick turnaround times, as a draw.
Lion has also opened its first of four hangars at its new MRO facility at Batam's Hang Nadim International Airport. The facility also has workshops for engines, landing gears, auxiliary power units and components.