Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sriwijaya’s NAM Air readies to enter Indonesian skies

NAM Air, a subsidiary of Sriwijaya Air, expects to serve passengers soon after it secured its flight permit (SIUAU) from the Transportation Ministry a few days before Idul Fitri.

The ministry’s air transportation director Djoko Murjatmodjo said the company was currently in the process of getting an AOC (air operator certificate) and if it could fulfill all of the AOC requirements it would get the AOC in the next three months.

According to the SIUAU, low-cost carrier NAM Air is given rights to fly as many as 300 routes in which 20 of them are international destinations, such as Timor Leste, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Singapore.

Separately, Sriwijaya Air owner and CEO Chandra Lie said that NAM Air was projected to take off by the end of this year.

“We are optimistic that this carrier will be able to start providing its service by the end of 2013, because we are accelerating the whole processes. We have mapped out which areas we are going to enter first and we are weighing options on the type of aircraft we plan to use,” Chandra said.

In the first phase, the new airline is going to use a few Boeing 737-500s belonging to Sriwijaya Air and the aircraft will be based in Bali and Nusa Tenggara.

Last year, Sriwijaya inked a deal to order 20 Embraer 190 jets for NAM Air with Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer S.A. However, Chandra said that they had to cancel the deal as both parties had not met what he described as a “mutual agreement.”

Now the company is still studying whether it will operate the French-Italian twin-engine turboprop short-haul airliner Avions de Transport Régional ATR 72-600s or the Canadian Bombardier Q400s.

Chandra said that both type of aircraft were suitable for short-haul regional routes that NAM Air would fly.

“We are hoping to secure a deal with one of the plane makers soon, because we want this airline to fly in the next couple of months,” he went on.

He also said that even though NAM Air would be a budget carrier, it would provide some snacks to the passengers in order to create convenient air travel.

Sriwijaya is the third largest carrier by market share in the country after the privately owned Lion Air and national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.

Currently it operates 38 aircraft from the Boeing 737 families, such as the 737-300s, 737-500s, and 737-800 NGs and flies to more than 50 destinations including Dili (Timor Leste), Penang (Malaysia) and Singapore.

All of its 737-500s and 737-800 NGs offer an 8-seat business class service.

According to the airline commercial director Toto Nursatyo, Sriwijaya is going to receive nine more Boeing 737 series in the second semester of this year to help strengthen its networks.

He said that the new aircraft would be used to serve new domestic routes namely Jakarta–Ambon and Jakarta–Lombok starting in the end of August.

“These aircraft will also be used to serve new flight services to China. We plan to launch this service starting in September,” he added.

Sriwijaya Air is collaborating with the Chinese government to connect Denpasar, Bali, with Beijing, Hangzhou, Guilin, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Pudong, Changsha, Shenzhen and Nanking.

Article taken from The Jakarta Post

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