Route Expansions, New Planes for Thai Lion Air

MARCH 06, 2015

Bangkok. Thai Lion Air, the Thailand-based unit of Indonesia’s biggest low-cost carrier, Lion Air, is expanding its routes with an extra 11 new aircraft this year, its director said on Friday.

Capt. Darsito Hendroseputro, director of Thai Lion Air, announced Thai Lion had ordered new aircraft from the Boeing 737-900 extended range.

“With the arrival of 11 new aircraft, Thai Lion Air’s fleet will reach 20 units. There are currently 60 departures to eight destinations which accommodate 10,000 passengers every day to, and outside, Bangkok,” he said.

The aircraft are part of Lion’s purchase placed with the US-based aircraft manufacturer in 2008.

Lion Group’s owner and founder, Rusdi Kirana, placed a $14 billion order for 178 Boeing planes which will be gradually delivered until 2017.

This was followed by a record-setting Boeing order as Lion sealed a $22 billion deal for 230 aircraft to be delivered in stages from 2017 to 2025, as part of the company’s plan to expand in the Southeast Asia region.

Darsito said Thai Lion Air, which launched operations in late 2013, will expand both domestic and international routes.

“In 2015 we will expand our routes to China — Shijiazuang and Chongqing — and Singapore for the international routes,” said the former Indonesian Navy captain.

Domestic route expansions include flights to Chiang Rai, Ubon Ratchathani, Trang and Khon Kaen. Thai Lion Air served 1.8 million passengers in 2014, with local travelers making up more than 70 percent.

Darsito said Thai Lion Air’s passenger load factor with the current nine aircraft reached 82 percent and scored 92 percent on time performance.

The airline’s ambitious expansion plans have been dogged by criticism of punctuality and service to customers.

Its Indonesia parent company suffered severe delays during the Chinese New Year period, which lasted for three days and left thousands stranded in several airport across the country.

Investor Daily