Garuda ‘axes’ plans to fly Jakarta to LGW non-stop

Garuda Indonesia has abandoned plans to fly non-stop from Jakarta to London Gatwick, it has been reported.

There were high hopes last year that the airline would mark its return to the UK with the prestigious direct service.

The carrier was going to use its brand new B777-300ERs, with luxurious seating in first and business and a nine-across layout in the economy cabin, on its London to Jakarta route.

With this service, Garuda once again intended to be a player in the voluminous kangaroo route, offering onwards connections at Jakarta to the likes of Melbourne and Perth. A B777-300ER was scheduled to operate the entire London-Jakarta-Sydney.

But disappointingly these plans never came to fruition, being twice postponed. Last winter’s planned start of service was postponed to this coming May,a nd then a month or so ago it was again put back, this time to September.

Now comes the news that not only might this date slip a few weeks, but no longer will Garuda fly non-stop to London.

Andyanto Pramono, senior network management analyst, is quoted as saying: “We will introduce flights to London in October, maybe faster in September.”

So instead of being Garuda’s flagship European route (the Amsterdam route is currently flown one-stop with an A330 via Abu Dhabi), London will be downgraded to a “tag flight”.

In other words, Garuda will use its B777-300ER to operate non-stop between Jakarta and Amsterdam. After a short spell on the ground, the idea is to continue the flight to Gatwick, a costly move in terms of airframe time and fuel costs. Garuda is in negotiations with Gatwick in order to obtain new time slots.

However, it is logical for Garuda to fly non-stop into Amsterdam rather than London. For historical reasons, Amsterdam has always been Garuda’s main European gateway and the airline intends to fly Jakarta to Amsterdam non-stop at the end of May.

Garuda plans to use KLM’s vast short-haul network to transfer its passengers to both primary and secondary destinations throughout the UK, mainland Europe and Scandinavia.

In which case, it would arguably make more sense to axe plans for the costly (to operate) tag flight to Gatwick.

Alex McWhirter

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  • Think BA would better this offering with LHR-SIN-CGK rather that than LGW-AMS-CGK. Though still bizarre how there’s no direct flight. 787 could do well here.

  • Personally I hope they do operate the tag, it will be nice to have a long haul product on a 777-300ER between London Gatwick and Amsterdam, and presumably instead of paying big bucks for an economy seat on BA or KL, we can pay the same (or less) for a flat bed on GA. Don’t know why BT is being so negative and repeatedly referring to high fuel and airframe costs (which are somewhat true, less so on the airframe as the turnaround at AMS is probably all day so the aeroplane is free), we want this to happen!

  • Hello cedarjet707

    Unless it can obtain traffic rights, which is doubtful, Garuda will not be able to carry local passengers between London Gatwick and Amsterdam. Yes there is an “open skies” regime in the EU but that applies only to airlines of the EU and certain European countries.

    I’m not privy to aviation negotiations which take place behind closed doors but that is my understanding. But who knows what sort of agreement the UK, Dutch and Indonesian negotiators will reach?

    With the airframe I was referring to wear and tear on the fuselage. These are planes designed for 16 hour non-stop flights, not 30 mins hops! Fuel consumption will be high too because rarely can flights on that route reach an economical height.

  • @AMcWhirter I too thought a non-EU carrier could carry local passengers… however I did book a 1-way Gatwick-Amsterdam for only GBP 44,- including 30KG of luggage after British Airways screwed up my *business class* flight that I’d spent GBP 520 on. Garuda is beating both Ryan Air, Easyjet, KLM and surely British Airways here. Flight was awesome!

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