Lion Faces Question Of Quality Over Quantity
By Leithen Francis, Jens Flottau
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
Rusdi insists the recent crash will have no effect on aircraft deliveries. Lion will continue to receive 24 737-900ERs and 12 ATR 72s this year, as planned. However, it delayed the envisaged April launch of its new premium carrier, Batik Air. The first flight is now scheduled for May 3.
Part of the concern about Lion's quality control is the doubt, even expressed by aircraft-makers, about whether Indonesian carriers can find enough pilots and maintenance engineers to support such massive fleet expansions. Rusdi says his company can source enough pilots and maintenance staff because it has its own flying school, as well as a training facility for maintenance engineers. The airline has received assistance in training and safety over the years from Boeing. Lion will continue to recruit some foreign pilots in the near term, but in the long term it wants all of its pilots to be local hires.
Another hurdle for Lion is passing the International Air Transport Association's Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). Nearly all airlines in Indonesia—including Lion—are banned from European and U.S. airspace because of European Aviation Safety Agency and U.S. FAA concerns about the Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation's ability to provide proper regulatory oversight. Lion is well-advanced in its efforts to pass the IOSA, however, and hopes it will soon be exempted from the European Union ban.
Lion has had one fatal accident: in November 2004, an MD-82 slid off the runway at Surakarta. Its last incident before the one in Bali last month was in November 2010, when a 737-400 overshot the runway at an airport in Pontianak, Indonesia. There were no fatalities and only minor injuries.
Lion Air Group Fleet
|ATR||ATR 72-600 ||38|
|ATR||ATR 72-500 ||20|
|ATR 72-600 ||2|
|Source: Aviation Week Intelligence Network Fleet Database|