Friday 23 June 2017

Batik Indonesia 737-8 Max first pic

An interesting sighting at BFI today Jun 23 was ln 6222 now with new Batik Indonesia titles and flag, undertaking a test flight as BOE204.


Photo credit & copyright : Brian Worthington (no copying or redistribution without permission)

This is a very recent change as it was seen earlier this week still with Batik Malaysia titles.  If you look closely you will note that its Malaysian registration 9M-LRG is on a sticker decal but perhaps more interestingly it has the letters LQJ on the nose wheel doors.  To the casual observer this would appear to be a simple swap of operator within the Lion Air Group from Batik Air Malaysia (Malindo) to the original Indonesian branch of Batik Air.  However, the nose wheel door letters 'LQJ' suggest that it will receive Indonesian registration PK-LQJ  but Lion Air (the airline, not the Group) are using the PK-LQ* block themselves for their own frames and historically Batik Air have always used different registration blocks to those of Lion Air.

PK-LQF is already fully painted in Lion Air livery at Renton and their next two frames PK-LQH and PK-LQG (in that order) show signs of Lion Air livery on their rudders too, so the frame above is somewhat of an odd one out.

The questions are

1. Assuming it will shortly receive the Indonesian registration PK-LQJ as the nose wheel door letters suggest -  is Batik Air breaking their own "rule" and no longer using separate registration blocks for their fleet?

2. Could there be a rebrand or merger of Batik Air and Lion Air on the cards?

3. Could the 'LQJ' letters be a red herring and the frame actually receive a completely different registration?

Time will tell, but I think it's fairly safe to say the above photo is its final livery and will deliver as such.  Today's flight was still with miscoded transponders, using the transponder code from sistership 9M-LRC!

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