Space Jet, the business aircraft charter start-up of Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air, will begin operations later this year with Hawker 900XP twin jets, but said it may add other types to the fleet at a later date.

Two of the nine-seat midsize aircraft will arrive in May and September, with two more to be added to the fleet at a later date, said Lion Air president Rusdi Kirana.

"There is no specific time-frame for Space Jet's third and fourth 900XP," Kirana said. He added that the company will only consider other types of private aircraft after all four 900XPs are in service. "Other types are possible, but it depends on what we need," he said.

Space Jet will offer time-sharing and block charter, but Kirana believes traditional ad hoc charter will account for the bulk of the demand.

"Even though time-sharing and block charter would be less expensive [for the customer], I don't see people being as interested in this," he said. "The private jet service is targeted at Indonesia's high-end, who are less concerned about price."

Kirana anticipates demand for services across Indonesia - mirroring the 62 destinations already served by Lion. "The people who charter us will be aware of the region's infrastructure and our ability to provide the service at just four hours notice," said Kirana

While private jet charter is common in Indonesia, Kirana noted, the majority of aircraft in the region are privately owned. This hampers the availability of aircraft as many operators have to juggle the demands of charter customers with those of the owners, he added.

Aside from offering private jet service, Space Jet will operate scheduled services with Lion's Boeing 737-900ER, and eventually widebody aircraft on both domestic Indonesian and regional routes.

Source: Flight International