Indonesion low-cost carrier Lion Air launches full-service airline | May 26, 2013

Batik Air_c680x349

By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir

At a time that Asia’s full-service carriers are busy launching low-cost affiliates, the region’s second-largest budget carrier, Indonesia’s Lion Air, is moving in the opposite direction by launching full-service airline Batik Air. Now that Batik Air has been flying for a few weeks, we thought it best to take some time to take a look at this new carrier and what you can expect.

The inside
Firstly, let’s talk interiors. The whole premise of the airline is to fly passengers around the Asia region with a full service offering and even a Business Class cabin with reclining regional ‘First Class’ style seats.

First impressions of the 737-900 cabin are great, neutral colours with a few bright splashes in the form of curtains help provide a smart and contemporary look. The neutral grey patterned carpets are a great choice, hiding a multitude of sins as they get worn in. The leather seating looks great in these images, but time will tell if they start to stretch and buckle with their use. The patterns on the bulkheads and dividers are great too.

This is a big jump from a low-cost’s roots and what you expect to see from a full service carrier. Where bright bold and strong colours are used to stimulate their passengers, therefore keeping them more awake, and in need of beverages, food and entertainment. This helps generate sales. Whereas premium carriers naturally use softer more relaxing colours to try and calm and relax passengers, where they don’t require so much attention, therefore drinking and eating less, thus increasing profits.

The airline offers touchscreen IFE in every seat, Economy class features 32″ seat pitch and the Business class seats offer 45″. The Sky Interior option for Boeing as well will help the cabin seem more spacious and modern. Being a full service carrier all food and drink is included  in the price.

The outside
Here comes our conundrum. On first look for us Europeans, the livery design looks more like a magic eye picture where we expect to see Dolphins if we stare at it long enough. Also the logo seems to sit at odds with a more luxurious brand.

But when we researched it further we realised that this was us just being culturally inept. The Batik design, synonymous with the Indonesian region, is historically a sign of luxury and nobility. The designs, still produced today, are created using wax and dip dying, the Tjanting tool (the flute looking element in the logo) is the tool used to carefully create these patterns. In many ways this is just like the designs we admire so much from Fiji Airways or O’hana.

This is a livery that has grown on us, and actually has got some cultural roots, something we are greatly fond of here. The colours even, although not our favourite colour palette represent both the Hindu gods and historically, nobility. Something that echoes the brand ethos of the airline, trying to be a more superior product than their low-cost sister Lion Air.