Lion Air picks Batam's Hang Nadim airport as base - BATAM. Lion Air says it will move its aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) base to Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, with an all-Indonesian engineering staff.
Construction of the low-cost carrier’s US$US100 million maintenance hangar at the end of the airport’s runway is 50 percent complete. The hangar is expected to enter service in June.
Lion Air heavy maintenance manager Ronny Roozanno said that the hangar would be the first owned by the airline since it began operations in 2000.
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Ronny said that initially Lion Air had rented a hangar from the Air Force at Husein Sastranegara Airport in Bandung, West Java, before moving to a Navy hangar at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java.
“This is our first fully owned hangar. All MRO work will be centered here in Batam,” Ronny told a media conference on Wednesday.
He said that the 6-hectare facility could accommodate 12 Boeing 737-9000ER narrow-body aircraft.
“We have also rented two blocks of apartments owned by the Batam Free Trade Zone Authority [BPK FTZ] with a capacity of 500 occupants to house our workers,” Ronny said. “All workers in the engineering division are Indonesians.”
On Tuesday, Lion Air president director Rusdi Kirana and BPK FTZ chairman Mustofa Widjaja were on hand for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to expand the MRO facility to 12 hectares for $300 million.
Ronny said that hangar would house a component shop and an engine shop in cooperation with US-based General Electric and Canada-based Pratt&Whitney.
He said that the second phase of the hangar construction project was scheduled for 2016.
“Indonesia is ready both in technology and human resources. All of Lion Air’s aircraft, including those currently operational and on order, which number 750 aircraft of various types will be maintained here in Batam,” Ronny said.
“After the facilities in Batam are complete, we will no longer conduct MRO work in those countries,”
Batam was chosen as Lion Air’s MRO center due to its proximity to Singapore and its status as a free trade zone.
“Singapore is the center of aircraft components in Asia and is very close from Batam. That is why we decided to have our MRO center here,” Ronny said.
“Batam’s Free Trade Zone status also provides some facilities for that.”
Meanwhile, Batam Free Trade Zone Authority director for integrated services and public relations, Dwi Djoko Wiwoho, said that officials had been pleased by the decision to pick Batam as its MRO home base.
It was previously reported that Lion Air would pick nearby Sinai Airport in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, as its MRO center.
“Lion initially wanted to build the MRO center in Manado [North Sulawesi], but was disappointed and then considered Johor Bahru,” Dwi said.
“Thankfully we managed to ensure Lion Air that Batam was ready to provide a number of facilities which are required by the airline,” he added.