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.