After the Jakarta base is certified, Lion will concentrate on getting its other line maintenance stations approved. Then it will seek EASA certification for heavy maintenance of airframes, engines and components.
This process should be smoother with the new Batam facility, as it is being designed and built with EASA standards in mind, Romdani says. The carrier has even arranged for EASA officials to travel to Batam to look at the project and make sure it is in line with their standards. Lion believes it is important to involve EASA in the process, and develop an early relationship.
Lion's fleet is currently dominated by Boeing 737s, most of which are the -900ER variant. It also has two leased 747-400s.
The carrier is due to receive its 100th 737 on Nov. 4, and has one of the largest narrowbody orderbooks in the industry. Last year it struck a deal with Boeing for 230 737 family aircraft, primarily from the MAX range. Then in March of this year Lion ordered 234 Airbus A320s, mostly from the Neo range.
Many of the new narrowbodies will go to Lion's Indonesian-based core operation, but aircraft will also be allocated to its affiliate joint ventures in other Asian countries. So far, these include Malindo Air in Malaysia, and Thai Lion Air.
Lion also has a regional subsidiary named Wings Air. It has a fleet of 30 aircraft, mainly ATR 72-500s. It is taking delivery of new ATR 72-600s, and has about 30 still on order.
Despite the massive backlog, Lion has indicated that more orders are in the pipeline. The carrier has confirmed it is considering a “double-digit” purcase of Bombardier CS300 aircraft, and could make a decision by the end of the year. These would fill the size gap in its fleet between the ATRs and its narrowbodies.
If a CSeries fleet reached critical mass, Lion would look to perform heavy maintenance at the Batam facility, an airline spokesman says. He notes that this would align with the carrier's intention to keep heavy maintenance in Indonesia whenever practical.