Lion Air plans to commence widebody operations with either ten Boeing 787-8s or Airbus A330s in 2014 or 2015, says airline CEO Pak Rusdi.
The long-haul operation – which will start up with Boeing 737-900ERs before the widebodies are acquired – will be a full-service offering, Rusdi says during a Singapore air show signing ceremony for 27 ATR 72-600s for Lion Air’s Wings Air subsidiary. Boeing has near-term 787 slots available for the venture, Rusdi says. The widebody operation will be based in Manado.
Rusdi dismisses concerns about overcapacity in Indonesia stemming from the surge in orders being placed by his own airline and Garuda International. There is a market for 1,000 aircraft in Indonesia, he says, noting that the country lags far behind others when it comes to available seat kilometers per capita.
Further ATR 72 purchases may be possible, Rusdi signals, adding that he also would be interested in a larger turboprop with up to 120 seats. ATR has been developing the concept for a larger turboprop from some time and, this year, plans to seek shareholder approval from EADS and Finmeccanica (the joint venture’s parents) for formal program launch.
The 27 ATR 72-600s signed for on February 16 were already in the ATR orderbook at the end of 2011 as an undisclosed customer. They represent the first -600s for Wings. The first is to be delivered in November, with all to be handed over before 2015. The deal makes Wings Air the largest ATR operator.