Nam Air is an Indonesian full-service start-up carrier to be launched by Sriwijaya Air. Nam Air plans to utilise two 100-seat Embraer E190s on domestic services which were ordered by Sriwijaya Air in Jun-2011.
Location of Nam Air main hub (Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport)
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Competition in Indonesia’s dynamic domestic market has increased another notch with the launch of Sriwijaya full-service subsidiary Nam Air. Sriwijaya, Indonesia’s third largest airline group after Lion and Garuda, is using Nam to expand its presence in the fast-growing regional market.
Nam Air commenced operations on 10-Dec-2013 and is currently operating one daily Boeing 737-500 flight between Jakarta and Pangkal Pinang, a trunk route also served by Lion, Garuda and Sriwijaya. Six more domestic routes are planned as part of Nam’s initial phase, including five routes connecting secondary markets which are new to the Sriwijaya group. Four of these routes are currently not served by Lion or Garuda.
Sriwijaya could have used Nam to enter the budget end of the market, which has accounted for most of the recent growth in Indonesia but has become fiercely competitive. The group has instead positioned Nam as a full-service carrier with a similar product to Sriwijaya Air but a different network strategy, targeting point-to-point markets which are relatively thin but are underserved and have big potential.
Lion Air Group new full-service subsidiary Batik Air is planning further expansion as it starts to focus on longer routes, including international services.
Two medium-haul domestic routes will be added in Dec-2013 as the carrier takes delivery of a fifth and sixth 737-900ER. More domestic and the start of international expansion is expected in 2014 as Batik takes the first batch of A320s from the landmark 234-aircraft deal signed by Lion and Airbus in Mar-2013. In 2015 Batik intends to start operating 787s, supporting further international expansion.
Batik is also preparing to move its base from Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta to closer-in Halim Airport, which Indonesian authorities are opening up for commercial jet services in a bid to relieve congestion at Soekarno-Hatta. Halim will provide further differentiation and product segmentation for Batik as the main Lion brand will focus on operating aircraft in single-class configuration from Soekarno-Hatta.
Sriwijaya Air is seeking to renew its fleet, expand its network and launch a new full-service subsidiary in a bid to maintain its position as the third largest airline in Indonesia’s fast-growing market. The low-profile airline group, which is already one of the 30 largest in Asia, has big ambitions to expand domestically and to a lesser extent internationally with new Boeing 737-800s and Embraer E190s in two-class configuration. But the group plans to stay away from the faster-growing Indonesian budget airline sector and, in a rather odd strategy, have two full-service brands with one positioned at the premium end and one in the middle.
Sriwijaya risks getting squeezed out as much larger Lion and Garuda pursue rapid expansion in both the budget and full-service sectors while the Indonesian affiliates of AirAsia and Tiger grow rapidly at the low end of the market. But within Indonesia’s large group of second tier full-service carriers, Sriwijaya has the strongest position and stands to benefit in the likely event of consolidation.