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Merpati in Search of Blue Skies

Despite Improving Operational Outlook, Merpati Nusantara to Book a Loss in 2010.

(12/31/2010) State-owned airline Merpati Nusantara Airlines (MZ) is expected to suffer a 2010 operating loss of between Rp. 30 40 billion (US$3.3 -4.4 million).

The commercial director Merpati, Tony Aulia, told Bisnis that during the first six months of 2010 MZ only operated six jet aircraft, down from the 10 airplanes they flew in 2009.

Said Aulia: "The condition of Merpati from January-June 2010 was sufficiently negative leaving us with only 6 operating aircraft. By the second semester, our condition improved." He went on to explain that the highest income for MZ occurred in July with sales of Rp. 21 billion (US$2.3 million) with month-to-month improvements against 2009 recorded through the end of 2010.

"The improving business trend allowed us to resume operating 10 aircraft in December," he said.

In 2010 MZ targeted Rp. 1.7 trillion in income (US$188.9 million), less than the Rp. 1.8 trillion (US$20 million) achieved in 2009.

In 2009 MZ booked a profit of Rp. 16.6 billion (US$1.84 million) largely achieved through the sales of their Jakarta headquarters and by operating a larger armada.

Merpati has an armada (parked or flying) of 26 aircraft, down from 28 aircraft in 2009.