Posted on: 16 February 2012 by Mark Howells
From 41 firm orders left with customers undisclosed in 2011, ATR took the opportunity in Singapore to unveil Wings Air, the subsidiary of Lion Air, as one of those customers with an order for 27 ATR 72-600s.
ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato highlighted that this contract is the third that the two have signed, the previous two for a total of 33 aircraft. The latest order means that Wings Air will be operating 60 ATRs by 2014, making it the largest ATR operator in the world. The first -600 will be delivered in November 2012.
Lion Air president director Rusdi Kirana, recalled, “When the ATR sales guy (Christophe Potocki) first came to me, I told him it would be a waste of time. Then I realised we need a feeder and called him and told him I wanted his aeroplane. And we bought 15. And we kept upping the frequencies and yet kept a high load factor, so we decided that everything under one hour should go to the turboprop.”
Outside Jakarta, Wings Air has a strong presence in Medan and Bali. Kirana says he does not see
Garuda, which has just bought CRJ1000s for regional operations, as competition. “We are working together to develop the nation. We believe that Indonesia can operate 1,000 aircraft,” he stated. “Just compare our country’s ASKs with Singapore’s. And with ASEAN open skies in 2015, there is great potential.”
With more than 17,000 islands in Indonesia, Kirana admitted to thinking seriously about adding ATR 42s. “But we started with the 72 and the load factor got even higher. So in fact, we think we need a larger turboprop [of more than 70 seats],” he noted.
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net