LONDON – The Lion Air Group has bid farewell to its Boeing 747-400, registered PK-LHG, after nearly 10 years in service with the airline.

The aircraft itself, was stored and withdrawn from use back in December 2018 in Jakarta but the carrier wanted to give it a proper send-off as it prepares for Airbus A330neo deliveries.

In a statement, the carrier expressed gratitude to the aircraft type.

“Lion Air is very proud to operate the aircraft “Queen of the Skies” in 10 years to serve domestic commercial (Indonesia) flights such as Soekarno-Hatta Tangerang, Medan Kualanamu, Batam, Surabaya, Denpasar and Makassar, as well as international destinations to Jeddah and Madinah, Saudi Arabia.”

“The Boeing 747-400 aircraft play a very important role in Lion Air’s journey because it makes a positive contribution.”

“Therefore, Lion Air gives the highest appreciation for the end of the Boeing 747-400 working period through a special event that raised the theme of the last moment and prepared to welcome the new aircraft Last Moment of Boeing 747-400 & welcoming the Airbus 330-900NEO”.

The airframe itself has been in service since December 1989 with Singapore Airlines as 9V-SME.

It then went to Air Atlanta Icelandic in June 2004 as TF-AMB, where Iberia leased the aircraft until July 2006 where it was delivered to Oasis Hong Kong Airlines.

Between 2008 and 2009, the aircraft was withdrawn from use and stored in both Hong Kong and Victorville before Boeing Aircraft Holding Company delivered the aircraft to Lion Air in April 2009.

During its time at the airline, the aircraft has been on lease to flynas on the high dense routes across Saudi Arabia.

By March 2016, the aircraft was retired and stored in Jakarta before coming back out of service and going back to flynas again on a lease.

Its life came to a significant end when it was being stored in different airports.

March 2017 to December 2018 saw the aircraft stored in Medan, Jakarta, Batam Hang and Jakarta again before being withdrawn from use.

The airline ordered 10 Airbus A330neos, eight of which are on lease from BOC Aviation.

Deliveries are due to commence in May 2019, with the first two to be received this year and the last eight in 2020.

Lion Air believes that the Airbus A330neo will be the perfect replacement for the Boeing 747-400 because of its ability to operate a “variety of market sectors to flights that need 15 hours, efficiently serving most flight routes with a double aisle seat layout with flexibility of up to 440 passenger seats”.

The airline has added new routes in the wake of receiving these aircraft this year, which include non-stop flights to the following destinations:

  • Makassar-Umrah
  • South Sulawesi-Medina
  • Balikpapan-Jeddah
  • Surabaya-Madinah
  • Solo-Jeddah

On top of this, Lion Air is also toying with the idea of expanding its presence into the further reaches of South Asia, with India being a market of interest.

It remains clear that even in the wake of negativity that the airline has had in the last couple of months with Lion Air Flight 610, involving the 737MAX, Lion Air is still wanting to achieve positivity and growth where it can.

With new routes on the way with the new aircraft type, this could be a turning stone in the airline’s reputation, not just in Indonesia and Asia, but the wider world, should it choose to take those opportunities.