INDONESIA - Indonesia's Transport Ministry has summoned Lion Air, the country's fastest-growing carrier, to review its operations after recent flight delays led to revelations that the carrier had wrongly declared imported used tyres as new ones, leading to a public outcry.
Passengers were stranded for up to seven hours on four routes from Jakarta to Padang, Makassar, Batam and Surabaya last Thursday after the tyres were held up at Tanjung Priok port. Nine planes were grounded.
Lion Air's general manager Edward Sirait admitted the delays were caused by the late delivery of tyres. Port officials said the tyres were held up because they were wrongfully declared.
"We are reviewing the airline's capacity and its operations," said Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan.
The ministry could take two weeks to complete the review, which will look into the cause of the delays and also how Lion Air handles consumer complaints, he said.
Lion Air is Indonesia's largest carrier with 145 aircraft and has inked record billion-dollar deals to buy new planes from Boeing and Airbus. It has opened new routes across the archipelago, carrying half of all domestic travellers last year.
Recently, it sealed a joint venture in Thailand, after one in Malaysia last year.
But analysts say the streak of delays and other incidents show its inability to cope with rapid expansion.