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Northern Flights of the Lion

Akhyari Hananto
Akhyari Hananto
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Northern Flights of the Lion

Wondering where all those new planes will go? Lion Air’s record order of 230 Boeing 737 aircraft will partly be used to expand the airline’s reach to the north.

Lion Air president director, Rusdi Kirana, said they planned to add flights to cities in China, South Korea and Taiwan.

The airline, founded in 1999, currently operates 67 aircraft for 226 flights daily to more than 36 cities, including overseas services to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Ho Chi Minh City.

The record $21.7 billion deal — Boeing’s biggest by value and in terms of plane numbers — has put the private airline to the international spotlight. Lion Air will get the new planes between 2017 and 2025.

The airline expects to carry 27 million passengers this year, an increase of 30 percent, and growth may continue at about 15 percent a year as the fleet expands, said Rusdi, a former travel agent.

By contrast, Citilink, the budget arm of state-run Garuda Indonesia, aims to boost passenger numbers 50 percent next year to 3 million as economic growth spurs travel in the world’s largest archipelago.

The number of air passengers in Indonesia jumped 22 percent from 43 million in 2009 to 53 million in 2010, according to the nation’s statistics agency.

Bloomberg, AP

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