Lion Air, the nation's largest domestic airline, is now providing international flights from Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam, Riau Islands through its subsidiary carrier Malindo Air.
Lion Air Batam manager Mahrido said on Thursday that the first flight was launched on Wednesday to Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor, Malaysia, a destination that would be served three times a week.
"We see big potential in the market, particularly from passengers who intend to undergo medical treatment in Malaysia," Mahrido told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
According to him, the new Batam-Subang route was originally to be opened in March, but was delayed due to a lack of planes. Malindo Air operates ATR 72-600 type aircraft for the hour-long flight, which can hold up to 72 passengers.
Mahrido added that the company was also aiming to provide a cheaper alternative for passengers heading to Selangor state, which can also be reached by ferry from the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru in the southernmost Johor state.
Lion Air Group also plans to open additional international routes from Batam, including one to Guangzhou, China, which will be carried out with a wide-body aircraft. Mahrindo said the company was awaiting flight permits from China before launching the route.
Hang Nadim official Suwarso said Malindo Air had become the second airline serving international destinations, after regional Malaysian airline Firefly, which served the Kuala Lumpur-Batam route.
Malindo Air is a joint venture of Indonesia's Lion Air Group and Malaysia's National Aerospace and Defence Industries, which launched its first flights in March 2013. The subsidiary airline is based in Malaysia.