Optimism sweeps Garuda Indonesia again


After five years of restructuring, Garuda is finally entering a new era. “I am pleased that we started to think again about our network’s expansion, inflight service and new aircraft after so many years of downsizing our network when others just went on expansion,” explained Prijastono Purwanto, vice president of Marketing for Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda during Pasar Wisata. The airline, which succeeded to achieve a profit of US$ 27.55 million in 2007, expects to double its profit to an expected US$ 55.1 million this year.

Garuda will receive, next year, 11 new Boeing B737-800NG, able to fly up to six hours. According to Purwanto, it will then help Garuda to expand its network, as well as its frequencies. Garuda plans to boost its flight frequencies by 22% to 1,960 flights/week with a fleet of 63 aircraft. The airline will fly 53 destinations by next year by adding 12 new domestic routes, especially to East Indonesia via Makassar. Palu, Sorong and Kendari are some of the future destinations being included.

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Three new international routes will also be added, including the reopening of Brisbane out of Bali, as well as the launch of flights from Surabaya to Hong Kong. “We forecast our return to Europe by 2010 with the reception of our new Boeing 777 long range,” added Purwanto. Some 10 Boeing 777 will come to the fleet with further options, if the economic situation improves substantially. All new aircraft will now be equipped with new seats in both economy and business class, including in-flight video in both classes. Airbus A330 will also be retrofitted with new seats and individual videos. Ground services are also under review with exclusive services in preparation for premium passengers.

Announcement of Garuda’s integrating in the near future into the Skyteam alliance by both Air France and Korean Air executive, are put back in perspective. “It is true that Skyteam lacks a partner in Southeast Asia. We first have to put our house in order, step by step, to integrate an alliance,” said Purwanto. “We are takng steps to improve interlining, safety, our frequent flyers program and e-ticketing for our international operations, as well as introducing a performant booking engine. Then, there will be no obstacle to integrate an alliance.”