Schedule and charter airline ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation, known as Susi Air, plans to expand its fleet by adding up to 15 new planes every year with an annual investment of Rp 220 billion to Rp 330 billion ($24.2 million to $36.3 million), starting next year.
The plan outlined its goal to fly to all Indonesian islands, a huge ambition from an airline which just started with two Cessna Caravans for carrying lobsters eight years ago.
“Starting next year, we plan to add 10 to 15 planes each year, depending on demand in the market” said Susi Pudjiastuti, the president director of Susi Air. “Indonesia air travel never dies.”
The airline, which specialized in flying small planes — less than 20 seats — servicing small towns and remote areas, now operates a fleet of 47 aircraft, including two helicopters.
Susi said that the new fleet would consist of pioneering airplanes such as the Cessna Caravan and Pilatus Porter, as well as helicopters and Piaggio Avanti for chartered flights.
The airline will need to invest between Rp 220 billion to Rp 330 billion each year for the planes, she said. Currently it is financing its expansion with loans from state-owned lenders Bank Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia and Bank Rakyat Indonesia.
“We dream to fly to all destinations in Indonesia,” Susi said.
She said Susi Air would open three new routes in Central Java, from Cilacap to Solo, Semarang and Yogyakarta, in July.
Susi Air has bases that offer scheduled flights in Sumatra, Jakarta, Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara and Papua. The airline has yet to serve scheduled flights in Sulawesi.
Susi said that 80 percent of the airline’s flights catered to customers in small towns, acting as a point-to-point commuter or as feeder for bigger airlines.
Susi Air also caters to cargo flights and mining workers who need lifts to remote mining sites.
Serving 35,000 to 40,000 passengers a month, Susi estimates that the airline handles about 15 percent of such routes.
Its competitors include debt-burdened state-owned Merpati Airlines, Aviastar Mandiri Airlines and Trigana Air Service. In terms of volume, Susi Air’s 200 flights a day lose out only to Indonesian heavyweights Lion Air and state-owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.
Its fiercest competition has come from land-based companies. Susi Air had to close a Jakarta-Bandung route last year as travel vans provided cheaper fares to the West Java capital.
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