The Transport Ministry received complaints from the public. (B1 Photo/Danung Arifin)

Lion Air Eyes a Third of Thailand's Market Share


FEBRUARY 01, 2016

Bangkok. Thai Lion Air, the Thailand unit of Indonesia's largest budget airline Lion Group, eyes to cater to 5.5 million passengers in the Mekong country this year as part of its effort to claim a third of Thailand's domestic market.

Thai Lion Air first flew in 2013 and managed to claim 17 percent of the country's airline market a year later, said the airline president director Darsito Hendroseputro on Monday (1/2).

In 2015 Thai Lion Air serviced 4.6 million passengers, accounting for a fourth of Thailand's market.

"We believe we can get 30 percent of the market this year," Darsito said.

He added that the airline would operate seven new Boeing B737-900NG narrow body jets this year, boosting its fleet to 25 aircraft.

That would enable Thai Lion Air to add 11 domestic and nine foreign destinations, Darsito said.

"We wanted to revive the Bangkok-Jakarta route in the middle of this year. We closed it last year because of a low load factor," Darsito said.

In the first quarter, Thai Lion Air will start its maiden flights to Trang, Khon Kaen, and Phitsanulok in Thailand, he added.

Lion Group is gearing up its presence in the region, taking advantage of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Open Skies policy —  effective earlier this year  that integrates Southeast Asia as a single aviation market.

Edward Sirait, the president director of Lion Air Group said the airline is projected to dominate traffic from East and South Asia countries to the Southeast Asia region.

Apart from Thai Lion Air, Lion Air Group includes full-service airline Batik Air,  budget carrier Mentari Lion Airlines, short-haul propeller fleet Wings Air, all of which operate in Indonesia, as well as budget airline Malindo Air in Malaysia.