I was asked by a Canadian who was visiting Surabaya 2 weeks ago, about the biggest airline in Indonesia. Apparently, he was a big fan of airline industry. It is not so easy to define the biggest. Garuda has the biggest assets and management, and capital too; but in terms of number of passengers, Lion Air is the biggest. In 2009, Lion carried 15 million passengers, slightly above Garuda Indonesia.
The number of passengers is highly likely to grow, as Lion Air has previously ordered 178 new Boeing 737-900 NextGeneration (NG), and 30 aircrafts are scheduled to arrive this year of 2010. If this continues, Lion Air can be Asia's heavyweight airline in the next 3-5 years.
As it also eyes long route, Lion Air has previously acquired wide-bodied Boeing 747-300 for Middle East routes. In addition to that, Lion Air is now considering to purchase Boeing 787 Dreamliner for domestic route. Gulp? Domestic route? Yes, the president director said so (Source).
Indonesian airline industry grows exponentially with Garuda Indonesia, Mandala, Lion Air, and other players onboard.