Lion’s Space Jet unit to operate widebodies on medium-haul routes

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Space Jet, the planned premium unit of Indonesian low cost carrier Lion Air, could operate 9 to 10 widebody aircraft on medium-haul routes from 2015.

The unit would operate its wide body fleet to destinations in North Asia, India, and Indonesia, said Rusdi Kirana, president director of Lion Air.

Space Jet's widebody aircraft will be equipped with a two-class configuration, an in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, and onboard wifi. The company has yet to decide on a specific type of aircraft.

The arrival of the aircraft will coincide with the expected arrival of ASEAN open skies in 2015. "With open skies, we will be able to transit through any city in ASEAN," said Rusdi.

ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) encompasses Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Rusdi also shed more light on the plans for Space Jet's planned private jet operations. The carrier's first Hawker 900XP will arrive in May, and the second in September. They will be available on a charter or timeshare basis.

"The idea is to start with two private jets and expand," said Rusdi. "These two aircraft are to test the market first."

The target clientele for Space Jet's private jet service are wealthy Indonesians flying within the Indonesian archipelago. Rusdi specifically mentioned businessmen who need to fly to remote mining outposts.

Space Jet will start premium scheduled services in 2013-2014, when it will take delivery of 16 Boeing 737-900ER aircraft that were included in Lion Air's 230 737 order in November 2011.

Rusdi said in December that Lion Air is planning an additional aircraft order for February, although he declined to provide details.