"I suggest Pelita Air cater scheduled pioneer flights to cover remote destinations as opportunities in the sector are huge," Atmadjati told ANTARA in Jakarta on Wednesday.
In a scenario where flag carrier Garuda Indonesia's restructuring plans fail and the airline is declared bankrupt, Pelita Air as the new flag carrier would face gigantic challenges in proportion with its current size, he said.
Pelita Air would struggle to replace Garuda Indonesia as the flag carrier as Garuda has better branding, infrastructure, and systems, as well as a bigger aircraft fleet and a higher number of routes served that are disproportionate with the size of Pelita Air, the expert warned.
"It will need years to procure new aircraft to cater to international flights and consolidate its branding," Atmadjati opined.
Considering those factors, Pelita Air needs to expand its pioneer flights to cater to more islands in Indonesia before advancing to the next expansion stage, he advised.
"Pelita Air started as a charter airline, then expanded into serving regular flights. I advise the airline to offer flights to remote locations that no competitors serve, just like Merpati Airlines did in the past," he remarked.
Besides expanding pioneer flights, Pelita Air should start serving cargo flights in the east Indonesian region and maximize its aircraft maintenance service, he added.
"Pelita Air has a good chance to expand, but it is inappropriate if the airline must face competition with other established airlines such as Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and Citilink, without consolidating the airline," Atmadjati said.
Earlier, the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry had mulled the option of replacing Garuda Indonesia with Pelita Air as the new flag carrier if Garuda's restructuring plan failed. Minister Erick Thohir also said he was open to the new flag carrier option.
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