Lion Air subsidiary Wings Air last month introduced the first three ATR 72-500s to the Indonesian market. Wings Air celebrated the milestone with a ceremony in Manado attended by Indonesian transportation minister Freddy Numberi and North Sulawesi governor SH Sarundajang.
Plans call for Wings Air to use the 72-seat turboprops to fly on routes now served by its own aging MD-80s and increase frequencies to destinations served with Lion Air Boeing 737-900ERs. It expects to introduce the remaining 12 of 15 airplanes on firm order this year and next. It also holds an option for 15 ATR 72-600s, now undergoing flight testing in Toulouse, France, and scheduled to enter service next year.
The value of the firm contract and the purchase options, if exercised, could total $600 million based on list prices. With the introduction of its new fleet of ATR 72-500s, Wings Air expects to consolidate its leading position in the domestic market in Indonesia, develop more feeder routes to Lion Air’s main hubs and expand its network to remote areas of the country without regular air transportation links.
“We are proud of being the first to introduce the ATR 72-500 in Indonesia, an aircraft reputed worldwide for its reliability and comfort,” said Rusdi Kirana, chairman of Wings Air and CEO of Lion Air. “Our new fleet of ATRs will enable us to optimize our operating costs on the regional network, therefore we will be able to propose very competitive fares to our passengers. We are glad to invite them to discover the new ATR experience, and we are delighted to contribute to the expansion of the air connectivity to remote areas of the country, while participating in the development of tourism and business.” Kirana also said“the large support network of ATR in Asia as a key factor of our decision of introducing the ATRs into the fleet.”