Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lion Air to start private jet service

The Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air, which announced the world's biggest-ever commercial aircraft order last month, plans to launch a private jet service by mid-2012, the company said Thursday.
Lion Air is negotiating a deal for four, nine-seater jets with US-based Hawker Beechcraft, which builds special-mission, business and trainer aircraft, Lion Air spokesman Edward Sirait told AFP.
"We will order four airplanes and we hope that two will be delivered between May and June next year. We will start operating a month after that," Sirait said.
"The deal will be signed and made official in January."
The service will be available to individuals, but will likely serve clients from the private sector, particularly the country's booming mining industry.
"CEOs of mining companies for example are usually based in Jakarta, but they would need to travel from one island to another to visit mines," Sirait said.
"The demand is there. We just need to work out how to meet it."
Lion Air, which had just one plane a dozen years ago, signed a world-record commercial contract worth $21 billion for 230 Boeing 737s with the US manufacturer in November.
The firm has become the biggest private airline in Indonesia and said it plans to expand across the Asia-Pacific region.
The airline is looking to serve international and domestic routes across the sprawling archipelago of more than 17,000 islands.
Indonesia is already serviced by several other chartered plane companies, such as Susi Air and Jet Royal.

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