Lion Air now flies daily between Batam (BTH) and Pontianak (PNK). This new 600-kilometre route was introduced on Wednesday 29 January and will be flown by the airline’s 737-800s. No other carrier operates the airport pair. Lion Air already operates domestic flights to 13 other destinations from Batam, which is located less than 40 kilometres south of Singapore. Last week the airline announced plans to develop Batam as a hub, to help relieve congestion at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Lion Group president director, Rusdi Kirana, said: “Batam is ideally located for people wishing to travel between eastern and western Indonesia. The distance is actually shorter if you transit in Batam rather than flying further south to Jakarta to transit. This is a ‘win-win’ for consumers and for the airline. The shorter flying time makes flying more convenient for passengers and it means aircraft burn less fuel, leading to significant cost savings.” International passengers will benefit too, as next year Lion Group plans to launch international services from Batam.