"The Ministry of Transportation has issued a permit for the opening of the flight routes, but flight schedules have yet to be decided. Lion Air has said the routes will be opened this month," BP Batam Spokesman Dwi Djoko Wiwoho said here on Saturday.
Hang Nadim airport in Batam is an international airport under the management of BP Batam. It is not managed by airport operator PT Angkasa Pura, which manages other Indonesian airports.
As of Friday, December 6, 2013, Lion Air officially began operating out of Hang Nadim airport, which has a 4,025 meter runway, as a flight hub in the western part of Indonesia, particularly Sumatra, connecting to other areas in the central and eastern parts of Indonesia.
The flight routes will link Batam with Balikpapan in East Kalimantan, Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan, Berau (East Kalimantan), Tarakan in North Kalimantan, Manado in North Sulawesi, Palu in Central Sulawesi and Makassar in South Sulawesi, without having to transit at Jakartas Soekarno-Hatta airport (Java).
Djoko said that the opening of the flight routes seeks to shorten flights from the western part of Indonesia, in particular mainland Sumatra, to the eastern regions of Indonesia.
"It also aims to reduce flight density and delays if flights have to transit at Soekarno-Hatta airport," he said.
He said Lion Air will also open direct flights from Batam to Semarang in Central Java.
The airlines is currently serving routes in Batam-Sibolga, Silangit, Gunung Sitoli, Meulaboh, Banda Aceh and Loksumaw via Medan.
Other rotes are Batam-Pekanbaru, Batam-Padang, Batam-Silangit, Batam-Jambi, Batam-Benkulu, Batam-Palembang, Batam-Natuna, Batam-Pontianak, Batam-Surabaya, Batam-Semarang, Batam-Yogyakarta, Batam-Bandung, Batam-Jakarta and Batam-Tanjung Pandan via Pangkal Pinang.
From Makassar, Lion Air flights will also connect to areas in Sulawesi, such as Wakatobi, Baubau, Kendari, Kolaka, Mamuju, Luwuk and Gorontalo.