Lion Air’s Founders Planning to Launch New Airline in Indonesia

The founders of Indonesia’s largest low-cost carrier PT Lion Mentari Airlines are planning to start a new airline, according to people familiar with the plan.

The new carrier is a project started by Lion’s founders including Rusdi Kirana, said the people, who declined to be named because they’re not authorized to speak publicly on the plan. It’s unclear whether the new entity will be part of the same group.

Budi Prayitno, a spokesman for the transport ministry confirmed it’s processing one application for an air operator certificate, while declining to reveal more details. Lion Air’s spokesman Danang Prihantoro declined to comment on the matter.

Airlines in Indonesia, like their peers around the world, are suffering from falling passenger numbers due to travel restrictions. While air travel in the country’s vast archipelago rebounded to 1.46 million people in July, from just 87,000 in May, that’s still far below 7.14 million seen in the same month last year, according to the statistics bureau.

Lion Air has been trying to move forward from a deadly crash in 2018, which was blamed on design flaws in Boeing Co.’s 737 Max jet, as well as a raft of errors at the airline by pilots and mechanics. Boeing said it has settled 90% of the wrongful death claims as of July.

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