Aviation Markets to Watch: Spotlight on Indonesia – Part 2

A Susi Air Piaggio aircraft parked in Indonesia.
Susi Air Piaggio P-180 Aldo Bidini (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Part Two of our analysis further examines Indonesia’s stellar growth in the world aviation market, and takes a closer look at its colourful domestic aviation sector.

Part One of our analysis looked at Indonesia’s rise in the international aviation sector, and in the Asia-Pacific region. According to IATA, Indonesia is set to become the fourth-largest air travel market in the world by 2030.

Internationally, Indonesia’s two major carriers – the national flag carrier Garuda, and its largest airline Lion Air – have gone through something of a ‘rite of passage’ as they have developed and grown from their early days.

Each carrier found themselves mired in controversy with early incidents. In the case of Garuda, earlier decades of mismanagement and incidents have caught up with the airline as it tries to return to solvency after the 2-year depression of the global pandemic.

It may perhaps be the growth of Indonesia as a travel hub that will ultimately assist the national flag carrier out of financial difficulty.

A vibrant domestic aviation industry 

Overall, Indonesian domestic air travel business is overwhelmingly ruled by two airline groups; Lion Air Group and Garuda Indonesia. By mid-2015, Lion Air Group accounted for 43.17 percent of market share, while Garuda Indonesia had 37.08 percent of market share.

But beyond the two main regional carriers, there is a domestic aviation industry that is as colourful and vibrant as the country itself.

The diversity of Indonesia’s domestic aviation industry partly lies in the fact that this is a country with a sheer size, spread across literally thousands of inhabited islands.

One domestic operator servicing this vast national regions is PT ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation, operating as Susi Air – a scheduled and charter airline based in Pangandaran, West Java, Indonesia. Sixty percent of the airline’s operation serves commercial regular routes and pioneer routes while the rest is charter flights. The company currently operates from several main bases across the Indonesian archipelago.

Although previously listed on the List of air carriers banned in the European Union, this was lifted on 14 June 2018. Susi Air typically operate a range of light GA aircraft to provide regional services, including the Piaggio P180 Avanti II, and the robust regional workhorse – the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan.

Photo Credit: Abihut, via Wikimedia Commons

As the world’s largest island nation, Indonesia spans a stunning 17,000 islands spread across an area of over 730,000 square miles. Across it are 217 domestic airports.

Being strategically located on flight routes between Asia and Australia, tourism and business form the backbone of a growing international aviation sector. And an interesting range of aircraft, ranging from seaplanes to small passenger commuter aircraft, ably support the tourism trade.

Seaplane operations in Indonesia

With its unique island geography, Indonesia recognises the importance of seaplane operations to support both the local civil aviation sector, and also the vital tourism sector.

Seaplanes become a natural choice to support both a geographically isolated chain of islands, but also to attract water-based tourism – divers, surfers and beachlovers.

In many cases, it is far easier to build facilities like ramps or docks to support a seaplane operation than to build land based airports and infrastructure. If you have a large expanse of clear water – you have a runway!

Many lakes, large rivers, bays and coastal sea regions are fit for purpose, and provide medial support and freight supplies for locals, as well as providing for the tourism trade.

Airfast Indonesia are one such privately operated company, operating a range of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft on varied operational roles.

Photo Credit: Airfast
Photo Credit: Airfast
Photo Credit: Airfast
Photo Credit: Airfast

Developing air safety and reliability

With a rapidly expanding international and domestic aviation footprint, Indonesia has kept up with advances in air traffic management, aviation safety and security, as well as sustainability and environmental protection.

The nation has committed to an ICAO recognised National Aviation Safety Plan, and has developed a leading air traffic management infrastructure in a region which is recognised as one of the most complex air traffic environments in the world.

From an international and a domestic perspective, Indonesia is definitely an aviation market to watch in the near future.

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