Lion Air’s slogan is “We make people fly”.

On Saturday 13th April, the airline did not quite live up to their promise ditching a 737-800 and 101 passengers and seven crew into the sea.

All survived -22 with injuries. The plane is a write-off.

Lion Air  began flying in Indonesia in 2000. They commenced  with one plane.  Lion Air now connects 36 Indonesia cities plus destinations  Singapore, Malaysian destinations and Ho Ch Minh in  Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. Their website says their fleet consists of 15 737-800s, 16 MD90s, ten 737-400s and two 737-300s. Not  sure how the 737-800 fits in? In March this year Lion air  signed a $24 Billion contract with Airbus for 234 A320s, the biggest commercial airline order in history. Lion Air also has the world’s second biggest order on record with Boeing for 230 Boeing 737s.

Lion Air does not have an official Skytrax record but passengers rate the flying experience at 5.2 out of 1o. Seat pitch (distance between seats) in the Economy cabin is a tight 29″. Food and drink is available on board for sale although it is provided on long distance flights.

In 2011, Lion tried to become  the second IATA Indonesian member carrier after Garuda but failed  due to safety concerns. Lion Air is banned from operating in European airspace by the European Commission after Lion Air was found to be too unsafe to conduct operations in any European state. Most other carriers in Indonesia share this distinction.

Since starting, the airline has had seven accidents  (including this last one). The most serious resulted in the death of 25 people in 2004 when an MD 82 skidded off the runway in heavy rain and crashed into a nearby cemetery in Solo, central Java.

The airline also faced scandal in 2012 when a Lion Air pilot was caught in possession of crystal methamphetamine in a karaoke bar in Makassar, South Sulawesi, and three other co-pilots were arrested at a drug party in Tangerang.

On Saturday, Flight JT-904 departed Bandung Airport (BDO) in western Java at 12:48pm for a domestic flight to Denpasar, Bali.  There were 95 adults, five children and an infant, along with seven crew on board the 737-800 registered PK-LKS.  At the time of the approach at around 335pm. there were reports of varying winds with the wind direction varying between 110 and 270 degrees. Eyewitnesses reported rain.

According to the Ministry of Transportation, the aeroplane came down in the water just short of the runway while on final approach to runway 09. Others have said, the plane apparently landed on the runway but didn’t stop. The plane’s fuselage split in two just behind the wings, and the plane is half submerged in the shallow water.The pilot blamed wind shear for the crash.

.Aviation authorities have already obtained the plane’s flight data recorder. They  are planning to tow the aircraft and retrieve the cockpit voice recorder located in the tail.

What interested me is how many passengers described not knowing the evacuation procedures forgetting about life rafts and life jackets.

So, would you fly Lion Air, one of the world’s fastest growing budget airlines?

Would you fly Lion Air, one of the world's fastest growing budget carriers?

  • Not ever (80%, 123 Votes)
  • Only if much cheaper (12%, 18 Votes)
  • Without hesitation (8%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 154

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  • jack said,

    I’d prefer redeeming points on a more reputable carrier than trying to save a few bucks on certain LCCs

    Jetstar is a definite yes, AirAsia is a marginal maybe, but lion Air is a solid no

  • Ken said,

    Wow, I was planning on flying them between SIN and DPS. Given this recap of their history, I am going to spend a few bucks more and go with Jetstar. Thanks for posting this.

  • Indo Trow said,

    Hi,
    Have flown numerous times with Lion, no problems, actually enjoyed the experience.
    Have a friend who is a captain for Lion and has informed me of the thorough training etc. They have one of the most modern fleets in the world and pilots are experienced at flying in extreme weather conditions and short runways etc.
    Seems problem here maybe caused by a lack of infrastructure at the airport(wind shear radar). If this last incident was caused by wind shear, as initial reports indicate, then wouldnt mattter if it was Emirates, Qantas, Garuda etc, if the plane doesnt have enough thrust to overcome the down draft, then there is not much you can do..
    Its just a miracle they were close to the airport and landed in the water.
    I will continue to fly Lion, no problems.
    Safe travels everyone.

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