Jakarta’s rapid growth dented by Adam Air’s demise; still 7th busiest Asian airport

Map: Indonesia
Visit Indonesia – but not very easily. The only European airlines serving the airport are Lufthansa and KLM, though neither flies non-stop. There are currently no direct services to North America and the EU recently upheld a ban on all Indonesian airlines from operating in Europe. Can an Asian city airport with 32m passengers really not sustain new long haul routes?

The rapid growth in recent years of air travel in Indonesia has in many ways been impressive. With an estimated population of over 220 million it is the word’s fourth most inhabited country (spread over several islands) with a total land mass about the same size as Mexico. After a period of sustained growth in the 1990s Indonesia was hit hard by the East Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 and numbers at Indonesia’s main airport at Jakarta (CGK) fell by 36% in 1998.

Chart: Jakarta traffic 1997-2007
Source: ACI/ICAO

Since then traffic has re-bounded; booming between 2000 and 2006 as traffic at CGK trebled from under 10 million to over 30 million, although since 2004 growth has slowed to less than 10%. With nearly 32 million passengers in 2007, Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport is Asia’ seventh busiest, after Tokyo Haneda, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Tokyo Narita.

Image: Lion Air Ticket Draw
Lion Air, lion’s share? Relative newcomer Lion Air seems to have everything that it takes to become Indonesia’s pre-eminent airline … the 737-900s, the safety record (prominently posted on the home page) and the best parties (anna.aero is not sure what is going on here but it clearly helps sell tickets).

Lion Air steps up after Adam Air closure impacts domestic

However, while international traffic is reported to be up 9.1% in the first five months of 2008, during the same period domestic traffic at Jakarta was down 7.7%, influenced by the forced closure of Adam Air in mid-March after a number of serious accidents and incidents.

Based on current schedule data Jakarta is around four times busier than any other Indonesian airport, its nearest competitors being Denpasar Bali and Surabaya.

Airport Weekly flights Weekly seats % Share of Thai airport capacity
Jakarta (CGK) 2,157 345,446 38.5%
Denpasar Bali (DPS) 519 94,502 10.5%
Surabaya (SUB) 638 85,617 9.5%
Ujung Pandang (UPG) 382 52,900 5.9%
Medan (MES) 333 48,742 5.4%
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 28 July 2008

Before its demise Adam Air (which had begun operations in 2003) had operated a fleet of over 20 737s primarily on domestic routes from CGK. The biggest airlines now operating at CGK are the national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, and fast-growing Lion Air.

Airline Frequency Share Capacity Share Number of Routes (Dom:Int)
Garuda Indonesia 35.0% 29.5% 26 (18:8)
Lion Air 22.4% 25.1% 22 (20:2)
Sriwijaya Air 12.2% 9.6% 20 (20:0)
Indonesia AirAsia 8.1% 7.5% 14 (8:6)
Singapore Airlines 2.5% 5.0% 1 (0:1)
Mandala Airlines 4.5% 3.5% 10 (10:0)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 28 July 2008
Image: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport: noted for its beautiful gardens and for being badly-underserved by long-haul carriers.

A total of 35 airlines currently operate scheduled flights from the airport including several LCCs such as the various AirAsia subsidiaries and Valuair. The three big Middle Eastern carriers (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways) all operate daily services from their hubs to CGK though only Etihad operates non-stop, with the other two coming via Singapore. The only European airlines serving the airport are Lufthansa and KLM who both operate daily flights, though neither flies non-stop. Lufthansa’s Frankfurt service comes via Singapore while KLM’s Amsterdam service travels via Kuala Lumpur. There are currently no direct services to North America.

Singapore: top route with 40,000 weekly seats

Image: Lion plane
By 2012 737-900 launch customer Lion Air will have received an incredible 144 900ERs from an allocation of 178. Network planners should take note of the simple and clear strategy: “The 737-900ER will enable Lion Air to offer more non-stop flights at low fares to more destinations throughout Indonesia and beyond.”

Although domestic routes account for well over 70% of the airport’s traffic the single busiest route is to Singapore (which is just 900 kilometres away) with over 40,000 weekly one-way seats. Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Singapore Airlines and Valuair all operate multiple daily services on the route plus there are a number of fifth freedom carriers.

There are eight domestic destinations with over 100 weekly departures from CGK, all of which are served by at least four carriers. Lion Air, which began operations in June 2000, may soon become the largest Indonesian carrier. It was also the launch customer of the 737-900ER which it started receiving in April 2007. With well over 150 737-900s on order the airline clearly hopes to become a major player in the region.


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