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Lion Air is an Indonesian hybrid airline based at Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Commencing operations in 2000 and based in Jakarta, Lion Air is the largest privately-owned airline in Indonesia. The carrier operates a network of scheduled passenger services throughout South East Asia and the Middle East.
Location of Lion Air main hub (Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport)
LCCs will continue to evolve into hybrids of the original core model. CAPA and OAG consider Lion Air fits the LCC profile and it is included in our reporting on this basis. Please note: when reporting for an airline is changed from or to LCC the historical data is not affected and it can lead to a distortion in the current reported data. Contact us if you have any queries.
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69 total articles
Southeast Asia’s low-cost carrier fleet is still projected to increase by nearly 20% in 2014 despite a recent spate of delivery deferrals and suspensions of expansion. The region’s LCC fleet also grew by about 20% in 2013, creating overcapacity in several Southeast Asian markets and leading to the current pressure on yields and load factors.
The AirAsia Group has made the right move in slowing down expansion by deferring deliveries and selling aircraft. Tigerair Mandala and Jetstar Asia also have decided to take at least a one-year hiatus from expanding their fleets. More Southeast Asian LCCs, including potentially the Lion Air Group, need to make similar adjustments for market conditions to improve.
Southeast Asia is still a market with huge opportunities for further LCC growth. But LCC capacity expansion has started to outstrip supply, perhaps necessitating a pause for breathing space.
Australia is close to attracting service by the end of 2014 from at least three new Southeast Asian carriers. Up to 10 Southeast Asian carriers, including five from Indonesia alone, could launch services to Australia by the end of 2016.
The new entrants, along with continued expansion from the 20 carriers already operating scheduled flights flights between Australia and Southeast Asia, will impact a market that is already suffering from overcapacity. Further reduction in fares will likely result, particularly as all but one of the potential new entrants are low-cost carriers.
The new competition poses yet another new challenge for the Qantas Group, which is struggling to compete in the Australia-Asia market. Other full service airlines – including Singapore Airlines (SIA), Garuda, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Thai Airways – will also have to adjust plans as the Australia-Southeast Asia market sees further significant increases in the LCC penetration rate beyond the current 30%.
Lion Air full-service subsidiary Batik Air is aiming to expand into the international market in late 2014 and operate several international routes from four Indonesian gateways by the end of 2015. The international expansion follows an initial domestic focus; 22 of the 23 routes to be operated by Batik by the end 2014 will be domestic.
The international expansion is expected to start in 4Q2014 with Jakarta-Singapore service, followed by Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur in early 2015. Batik plans to also launch international flights by the end of 2015 from Bali, Batam and Makassar as China, Hong Kong and Australia are gradually added to its network.
The Batik international expansion plan is ambitious and will face several challenges. Competition will be fierce while traffic rights, slots and approvals from foreign regulators could prove elusive in some of the targeted markets. Batik has an unknown brand overseas, which will make it hard to sustain its 90% load factor as it spreads its wings.
Garuda’s Citilink to expand into international market, starting with Malaysia, Singapore & Australia
Garuda Indonesia budget subsidiary Citilink is planning more rapid domestic expansion in 2014 and the launch of international services, with an initial six routes. The expansion comes despite challenging market conditions in Indonesia and continued losses, including a net loss of USD48 million for 2013.
But Citilink is striving to reduce its costs and improve its profitability by increasing utilisation levels and average stage lengths. Longer domestic routes and the launch of international services will drive up utilisation rates on its fleet of A320s, which is expanding from 24 to 32 aircraft in 2014. International services will also provide an important new foreign currency revenue stream, cushioning the impact from the rapid depreciation of the Indonesian rupiah.
Citilink aims to launch services to four international destinations in 2014. The carrier has selected Johor Bahru in Malaysia as its first destination overseas, followed by Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and eventually Perth.
Indonesia AirAsia slows expansion. Domestic share to suffer but international position to strengthen
Indonesia AirAsia has decided to significantly slow down expansion in 2014 as market conditions in the Indonesian market, particularly domestically, have become challenging. The carrier, which added eight A320s in 2013, had dropped plans to add two aircraft in 1H2014 and is also considering deferring some or all of the four deliveries initially slated for 2H2014.
Indonesia AirAsia is also planning to adjust its network to focus more on international services. The international market is more profitable as it is less impacted by the devaluation of the Indonesian rupiah. But cutting domestic capacity will result in a reduction in AirAsia’s already small share of Indonesia’s domestic market.
AirAsia still has a strong position and bright outlook in Indonesia’s international market. But 2014 will mark another setback in the group’s long-term strategy of securing a larger presence in Southeast Asia’s largest domestic market.
Indonesia’s Tigerair Mandala is boldly slashing capacity by about 40%, hoping to lead by example as it responds to overcapacity and challenging market conditions. The capacity cuts will reduce the carrier’s average aircraft utilisation rate to less than nine hours, which is very low for an LCC operating a new fleet of A320s.
Reducing utilisation is an unusual move in Asia’s low-cost sector, where expansion continues at an ambitious rate despite signs of overcapacity in several major markets including Indonesia. But reducing utilisation and even temporarily grounding aircraft is a more common response by LCCs in other regions during periods of low demand.
More Asian LCCs should consider adopting the strategy used by leading European LCC Ryanair, which parks up to 80 aircraft every winter. So far only tiny Tigerair Mandala, which is roughly number 35 among the 47 LCCs in Asia-Pacific, has taken the initiative.
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