Lion Air secara resmi berdiri pada bulan Oktober 1999 namun baru beroperasi pada bulan Juni 2000. Pada awal beroperasinya, Lion Air hanya menggunakan sebuah pesawat jenis Boeing 737-200. Maskapai ini terkenal dengan tarifnya yang murah dan merupakan maskapai pertama di Asia yang memberlakukan dua kelas, yakni bisnis dan ekonomi.

Agar Lion Air bisa memberikan pelayanan bertarif murah, pesawat yang dipakai oleh maskapai ini didominasi jenis MD-80 yang terkenal lebih efisien dan mampu memberikan kenyamanan. Hingga tahun 2005, Lion Air telah memiliki 24 armada yang terdiri dari 19 seri Mc Donnell Douglas MD-82 dan 5 pesawat jenis DHC-8-301. Rute penerbangan domestik yang dilayani Lion Air antara lain Banda Aceh, Medan, Padang, Pekanbaru, Palembang, Bengkulu, Jambi, Batam, Pangkal Pinang, Jakarta, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya, Denpasar, Sumbawa, Mataram, Bima, Kupang, Balikpapan, Banjarmasin, Tarakan, Pontianak, Makasar, Manado, Gorontalo, Palu, Luwuk, Kendari, Ujung Pandang, Tahuna, Ternate, Ambon, Tual, Sorong, Fak Fak, Kaimana, Nabire, dan Jayapura. Untuk rute penerbangan internasional di antaranya Singapura, Malaysia (Penang dan Kuala Lumpur), dan Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh).

Dalam rangka meningkatkan kualitas pelayanannya, sejak tahun 2007 Lion Air telah memesan 178 unit pesawat jenis Boeing 737-900ER yang telah dikirim secara bertahap hingga tahun 2014 nanti. Bahkan Lion Air dengan armada barunya yakni pesawat Boeing 747-400, juga berencana melayani rute penerbangan umroh dan haji yang selama ini didominasi oleh Garuda Indonesia dan Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Sejumlah kecelakaan juga pernah dialami oleh Lion Air meskipun tidak sampai menelan korban jiwa yang signifikan. Salah satu kecelakaan yang pernah menimpa Lion Air hingga menyebabkan sejumlah penumpangnya tewas adalah yang terjadi pada tanggal 30 Nopember 2004. Lion Air dengan pesawat MD-82 untuk rute penerbangan Jakarta-Solo-Surabaya tergelincir saat melakukan pendaratan di Bandara Adi Sumarmo Solo sehingga menyebabkan 26 penumpangnya tewas.

Sumber : TiketPesawat.Com

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