Indonesia's Lion Air is moving forward with an aggressive fleet expansion that will more than double the size of its jet fleet through the addition of Boeing 737-400s and more Boeing MD-82s.

Lion Air, Indonesia's largest privately owned airline, says 15 737-400s and 10 MD-82s will join the fleet by June 2005. It adds that the first two 737-400s have already arrived in Indonesia, although these aircraft are to be wet-leased to Algerian state-owned carrier Air Algerie from 29 June.

The carrier says that most, and possibly all, of the 737-400s and additional MD-82s will be leased from GE Capital Aviation Services. Lion Air has traditionally had operating leases, but this time some of the aircraft will be on "lease purchase" arrangements, it adds.

Lion Air has 19 MD-82s while its subsidiary Wings Air has a fleet of Bombardier Dash 8s.

"We have a target of 1 million passengers a month," says the airline, which carries 500,000-600,000 passengers a month.

Lion says that it plans to serve most of its international regional routes with the 737-400s. These include Bangkok, China, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The carrier will also use the 737-400s on some domestic routes, particularly to airports where the MD-82 has difficulties landing.



Source: Flight International