THE INDONESIAN Ministry of Transportation has ordered Lion Air to ground 10 to 15 of its aircraft within the next three weeks, in an effort to improve the airline's safety and punctuality record.
The restriction was imposed following persistent delays by the Indonesia-based low-cost carrier, including a recent five-hour holdup at Hasanuddin Airport in Makassar, which resulted in a warning from the ministry (TTG Asia e-Daily, July 13).
In a notice published on the ministry’s website, director general of air transportation, Herry Bakti Gumay, explained: “By restricting the (number of operational aircraft), there will be more ground time, and (we) expect this will create a balance between the number of aircraft and crew, and in time, reduce the frequency of delays."
Gumay acknowledged that the restrictions might result in some of Lion Air's routes being dropped. “There could (also) be an increase in ticket prices, but these will not exceed the economy (-class) ceiling price (set by the government),” he said.
Lion Air has issued a separate statement promising that it will not be reducing the number of routes and frequencies. The airline's general affairs director, Edward Sirait, said: “By keeping the frequencies and routes, we are confident that we will be able to maintain the selling prices at the current level.”