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Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International (CGK)
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10MAR2014: Sukhoi, Xian Aircraft Co. eye takeover of Indonesia's Merpati
Merpati (MZ, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has garnered the attention of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (Moscow Zhukovsky) and Xian Aircraft Company (Xi'an Yanliang), both of whom have expressed an interest in taking over the now defunct Indonesian carrier.
The Jakarta Globe reports that both manufacturers have already sent a letter of interest to Indonesia's Minister of State-owned Enterprises, Dahlan Iskan.
Though Xian currently holds an advantage over its Russian counterpart given Merpati's fifteen-strong fleet of MA-60s, Sukhoi intends to furnish the airline with both aircraft and financing.
“Still, there should be more discussion, which may not be resolved in such a short time,” Iskan said.
Merpati suspended operations in February as a consequence of IDR6.7trillion (USD549million) in debts owed to various government firms and suppliers.
25FEB2014: Express Air, KalStar eye take over of abandoned Merpati routes
Express Air (XN, Makassar) and KalStar (KD, Berau) are among the carriers that have applied to the Indonesian government to assume routes left vacant following the recent suspension of operations at Merpati (MZ, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta).
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation in the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation said over twenty domestic routes had not been serviced since early February but noted that traffic rights would only be awarded to those airlines whose fleets met minimum criteria.
Merpati suspended flights on February 1 citing a massive debt overhang amounting to IDR6.7trillion (USD549million). The airline was given until the end of the month to consolidate and resume its operations.
13FEB2014: Indonesia's Lion Air orders 50+50 IAe N219 turboprops
Lion Airlines (JT, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has signed a contract with Indonesian Aerospace (IAe) for fifty of the manufacturer's new 19-seat turboprop aircraft, the N219. The LCC also holds options for an additional fifty of the type, which will be used to service its thinner, more remote routes. Lion Air will be procuring the N219 in a 19-seat configuration as well as a multipurpose variant. According to the Malaysia Flying Herald, Nusantara Buena Air (Medan Polonia), a small regional carrier in Western Indonesia, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for twenty of the type with options for a further ten. Merpati (MZ, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has also ordered twenty of the aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of DHC-6 Twin Otters although given its temporary suspension of operations, the status order is now obviously questionable. The turboprop's first flight is expected in 2015.
06FEB2014: Indonesia gives Merpati until month-end to resume operations
Merpati (MZ, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has been given until the end of the month to resume operations Indonesia's State-Owned Enterprises Minister, Dahlan Iskan, has said. Owing to a massive debt overhang amounting to IDR6.7trillion (USD549million), the state-run carrier suspended flights on February 1 in a bid to consolidate its operations, Mr Iskan told the Jakarta Post. “The situation right now has made it necessary for Merpati to cease operating, as the damage would be far greater if it were to continue,” Dahlan said. As a result of the suspension, employees' work hours have now been slashed.
02FEB2014: Merpati temporarily suspends ticket sales, plans to restructure
Merpati (MZ, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has temporarily suspended ticket sales at the beginning of this month and plans to also suspend operations for a period of at least one month according to an internal memo sent to its staff. It has partnered PT Bentang Persada Gemilang and PT Amagedon Indonesia following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Merpati's owner, the Indonesian state. Speaking to Bisnis.id, Indonesia's Minister for State-owned enterprises, Dahlan Iskan, said the partnership will result in the creation of a new subsidiary, PT Merpati Aviation Service. “Merpati Aviation Service will carry out all business expansion plan prepared by the two joint operation partners. Bentang will serve flights to eastern part of Indonesia, while Amagedon will focus on the western part,” he said. Merpati's two existing subsidiaries, PT Merpati Maintenance Facility and PT Merpati Training Center, will be spun off from its parent. “These two units have been transferred to PT Perusahaan Pengelola Aset (Persero),” he added. In terms of its fleet, Merpati will likely redeploy its fleet of thirteen MA-60s to the east of the country. In line with recent route terminations, Merpati was left with just two operational B737-300s used to service Makassar - Merauke and Denpasar - Dili flights. As it stands, four B737s - PK-MDU (msn 28200), PK-MDS (msn 24708), PK-MDY (msn 26316) and PK-MDR (msn 26334) - are to be returned to their lessors shortly. Riddled with more than IDR7trillion (USD571million) in outstanding debt to airport operators Angkasa Pura I and Angkasa Pura II among others, Jakarta sees the restructuring as a solution to persistent Merpati's viability problems. Recently, Indonesian state-owned energy company Pertamina said it will only supply jet fuel to Merpati on a cash basis after the airline twice breached its maximum debt limit. Merpati owes Pertamina IDR165billion (USD13.5million). Since Mr Iskan outlined his plans to restructure and eventually privatize Merpati in 2013, a number of prospective investors have shown interest with plans including using a wet-leased B777 to operate pilgrimage flights.