Air Transport World

Breaking the logjam; airline partly owned by President Suharto's son is first private Indonesian carrier permitted to import new jets. (Sempati Air, Hutomo Mandala Putra)

Sempati Air, the recently revamped Indonesian airline that is partly owned by President Suharto's youngest son has broken the logjam and become the first private airline in Indonesia's history to receive licenses to import new jet equipment and to launch international routes in competition with national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia (ATW, 7/91).

Now, Sempati is hammering away at Indonesia's aviation authorities to gain fare increases from the highly regulated domestic-airline system and permission to import seven secondhand Boeing 737-200s to open more domestic routes.

Hasan M. Soedjono, the carrier's president director, says the airline's good fortune had nothing to do with political influence, though having the President's son as a shareholder obviously is a valuable door opener" through the bureaucratic red tape.

He says that Sempati's approval to import seven Fokker 100s was granted because the $200 million purchase agreement included $70 million (35%) in manufacturing-offset contracts for Indonesian plane maker IPTN. The aircraft were financed on a lease from a company owned by GPA and Fokker. Four of the aircraft are operating and the others are due to arrive by September.

Sempati Air was founded 20 years ago by a company owned by the Indonesian Air Force. It was purchased in December, 1989 by its present owners, P.T. Trubah, a company owned by the Indonesian Army Foundation, 40%; P.T. Nusamba, owned by logging tycoon Bob Hasan, 35%, and P.T. Ilumpuoo, owned by Suharto's son, Hutomo Mandala Putra, whose nickname is Tommy, 25%.

The present fleet consists of six Fokker F27s and four 100s with the three more 100s expected to be delivered soon. …

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