PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines is optimistic that they will carry 3.3 million passengers in 2011, an increase of 10% over the total carried in 2010.
The commercial manager of Merpati, Tonny A. Achmad, said the higher target is being driven by the commencement of service over a number of new domestic routes flown by the airline. Of a planned 40 new routes to be flown by Merpati in 2011, a total of 26 new routes are already in operation.
Speaking to Bisnis Indonesia at the inauguration of a new route between Badung (West Java) and Semarang (Central Java), Achmad said, “essentially we are supporting the system of connective transportation put forth by the government.”
Merpati is operating the new once-daily Bandung-Semarang service using Chinese-made MA-60 aircraft.
Achmad explained that the 40 new routes to be flown by Merpati in 2011 have the potential of increasing his airline’s the domestic passenger market share from 7 to 9%.
To serve the new routes Merpati has prepared 14 new MA-60 Aircraft purchased from China to operate its new services. Shortly after its introduction into service, one of the Chinese aircraft crashed in Papua earlier this year.
Achmad says an additional 40 MA-60 aircraft are needed by Merpati to service an expanding network of domestic flights.
Next year, Merpati plans to lease 20 Boeing 737 aircraft at a cost of US$80,000 each per month.
In addition to the Bandung-Semarang route, Merpati is using the newly acquired MA-60 aircraft to service Bandung-Jakarta, Bandung-Lampung and Bandung-Yogyakarta.
Using classic-series Boeing 737s the airline is currently serving traffic between Badung-Batam and Badung-Surabaya-Denpasar.
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