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Budget Indonesian carrier set to roar

AN INDONESIAN airline with a chequered safety record is looking to launch Australia's fourth low-cost domestic airline, a further challenge to Qantas-Jetstar and Virgin Blue's dominance of the local market.

The Jakarta-based Lion Mentari Airlines announced it has struck a deal to buy 49% of an unnamed Australian company and base six jets here.

The airline's founder, Rusdi Kirana, told the Indonesian news agency Antara that a co-operation agreement was in the works with an Australian company, with 49% of the shares held by Lion and 51% by the Australian side.

No date was given for the launch of Lion Australia, which, after Singapore Air's part-owned Tiger, could become the second Asian airline to operate domestic flights in Australia.

The Age, Australia

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