Indonesian carrier, Lion Air is planning to launch a series of new routes to destinations in Japan, China and Australia. The Jakarta-based private airline’s General Director, Edward Sirait was reported saying this week that it intends to launch services connecting Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport with Fukuoka, Guangzhou and Melbourne from next year. To do so, the airline will increase the capacity of the fuel tanks on eight of its medium-range aircraft.
“Lion will expand its international routes to the north and south in 2012. We’re currently modifying the central tanks of our Boeing 737-900ER aircraft so that they can fly further,” local news portal, kompas.com reported Sirait as saying in Jakarta on Monday. “We expect to open other international routes by the end of the year,” he added, without detailing what those routes would be.
Sirait added that the fuel tank modifications would apply to the new Boeing 737-900 aircraft Lion Air expected to receive later this year. The narrow-body jets’ fuel capacity will be increased by 50%, allowing each plane to travel nine hours non-stop, compared to the normal six hours.
Lion Air currently operates several long-haul routes, to destinations including Jeddah, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore. The airline has ordered a total of 178 new B737-900ER (extended range), the first of which was delivered in April 2007, The planes are either configured in a single class with 213 seats, or in a two-class layout with 205 seats – 10 in Business Class and 195 in Economy Class.