Citilink, Garuda Indonesia’s low-cost partner, is embarking on an aggressive expansion programme designed to open up emerging areas around the archipelago and serve an increasingly mobile domestic market.
The carrier, which launched in 2001 as a subsidiary of Garuda, spun off as an independent outfit in July of this year. “We are now on our own,” Arif Wibowo, Citilink managing director told Business Traveller. “Domestic travel in Indonesia is potentially very big – about 60 to 70 million people – and there are different sectors that need to be catered to. There is enough business for both Garuda and Citilink.” As of July, the country’s population tallies at about 248 million and 2012’s GDP is forecasted to reach a laudable 6 per cent.
Besides the established hubs of Jakarta and Bali, more are being built up, including Makassar, Balikpapan, Lombok and Batam, from where smaller points will be served.
To meet increased activity, Citilink has been ordering aircraft, a mix of Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier, which will fly out of the new hubs, Pujubowo, Garuda’s vice president corporate communications informed Business Traveller.
The budget carrier’s current fleet of 18 will expand to 21 by the end of the year, with 10 more to be added in 2013. It now operates 80 flights per day, which will rise to over 160 flights per day with the enhanced aircraft portfolio.
Garuda and Citilink are expected to overlap on some high-density routes, Wibowo revealed. “That’s okay as we are serving different markets and offer different benefits. Garuda is a full service airline, while we are a limited-service carrier.”
According to Wibowo, seat purchases on Citilink are still divided between travel agents and going online as Indonesians adopt technology. A marketing and branding campaign, to be launched in January, will however be designed to change consumer habits.
For more details about the airline, visit www.citilink.com
Margie T Logarta