Lion Air is an Indonesian airline based in Jakarta, Indonesia. The airline was founded in 1999 by brothers Rusdi and Kusnan Kirana and operates scheduled domestic, international, and charter flights. Lion Air is the largest private airline in Indonesia and the second-largest low-cost airline in Southeast Asia.
The Lion Air Group was founded in 1999, with the first flight taking off in 2000. The airline began as a domestic carrier, operating flights from Jakarta to Surabaya, but has since grown to become a major international carrier. The airline has grown to become the largest airline group in Indonesia, with a fleet of over 150 airplanes, including Boeing 737s, Airbus A320s, ATR 72s, and the Boeing 747-400.
Lion Air has had an eventful history and has achieved many milestones, including:
1. In 2003, Lion Air was the first airline in Indonesia to offer online booking, becoming the first low-cost carrier in Indonesia to do so.
2. In 2005, Lion Air became the first Indonesian airline to fly to the Middle East with flights to Bahrain and Jeddah.
3. In 2008, Lion Air was the first Indonesian airline to operate the Boeing 737-900ER, the largest member of the 737 family.
4. In 2009, Lion Air became the first Indonesian airline to launch a frequent flyer program.
5. In 2014, Lion Air became the first Indonesian airline to offer flights to China, with flights to Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.
Throughout its history, Lion Air has gone through a number of changes in order to stay competitive in the airline industry. In 2011, the airline announced plans to expand its fleet and increased its number of aircraft to over 150, making it the largest airline group in Indonesia. The airline also announced plans to expand its international network, launching flights to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, China, and other countries.
The airline has also undergone several changes in leadership, with Rusdi Kirana stepping down as CEO in 2013 and being replaced by Edward Sirait. The new CEO has spearheaded a number of changes, including launching a new frequent flyer program, increasing the number of destinations, and introducing new aircraft.
Despite its growth and success, Lion Air has not been without controversy. In 2013, a Lion Air Boeing 737-800 crashed into the sea off the coast of Bali, killing all 108 passengers and crew on board. The crash was the deadliest aviation disaster in Indonesia since 1997. The investigation into the crash revealed that the plane had experienced a number of technical issues prior to the crash, and that the pilots had failed to report the problems to the airline.
In 2019, the US Department of Transportation began an investigation into Lion Air after accusations that the airline was operating flights without proper safety checks. The investigation is ongoing, but the airline has denied any wrongdoing.
Lion Air has come a long way since its founding in 1999. From a small domestic carrier to a major international airline, Lion Air has grown to become the largest airline group in Indonesia and the second-largest low-cost airline in Southeast Asia. The airline has achieved a number of milestones and has undergone changes in leadership and operations in order to stay competitive in the airline industry. Despite a number of controversies, Lion Air continues to be a major player in the Indonesian aviation industry.