Lion Air Group reportedly plans to launch a Thai LCC subsidiary, Thai Lion Air, with the carrier already recruiting staff, according to a report from Bangkok Post. Thailand’s Civil Aviation Department director-general Woradej Harnprasert said: “Lion Air's entry is good for more healthy competition, giving passengers choice.” The start-up will reportedly operate from Thailand’s Bangok Don Mueang International Airport, using up to six Boeing 737-800s. Mr Harnprasert said the start-up was yet to apply for an air operator’s certificate, and Thai entities are required by law to hold at least 51% ownership in the company. According to the CAPA Fleet Database, Lion Air Group currently operates 15 737-800s, with a further 11 on order.
Lion Air Group to start Thai LCC subsidiary, Thai Lion Air: report
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Indonesia's Lion Group continued to expand its fleet rapidly in 2015 as several of its competitors in Southeast Asia slowed growth or restructured. Lion added a remarkable 57 aircraft in 2015 – its highest figure ever – and ended the year with 236 aircraft.
In doing so Lion overtook AirAsia as the largest airline group in Southeast Asia, growing its fleet by 32% in 2015 while the AirAsia fleet shrank slightly. The Lion Group is expected to add a similar number of aircraft in 2016, further widening the gap with AirAsia.
All five Lion Group carriers grew their fleets in 2015 by at least seven aircraft. Lion currently has 191 aircraft in its home market of Indonesia, 27 in Malaysia and 18 in Thailand.
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Indonesia’s Lion Group is preparing to build up its presence in the international market after focusing almost entirely on domestic operations in its initial 15 years. Lion is the largest domestic airline group outside China and the US, but has a small international operation that is only about the size of Poland’s LOT.
In a precursor to international expansion, the group has been raising its standards and seeking IOSA certification for all five airlines in its portfolio. Its Indonesian subsidiaries are also now in the process of securing an exemption from the EU blacklist.
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