Garuda reduces London service, appoints new CEO

16 Dec 2014 by Clement Huang

Garuda Indonesia, a member of the SkyTeam alliance, will reduce frequency on the Jakarta – Amsterdam – London (Gatwick) route from five- to four-weekly from February 2 through to March 28.

The reduction during non-peak season was expected, given Garuda’s struggle to fill its Boeing B777-300ER aircraft on the highly-competitive Jakarta – Europe route ploughed up to six times a day by the Middle Eastern carriers as a one-stop via the Gulf.

Garuda also aborted its plans for further network expansion in Europe, shelving to add Frankfurt, Paris and Rome as ports of call. Instead, the carrier will focus on Amsterdam as its European distribution point in partnership with alliance partners Air France-KLM which offer onward connections to over 100 destinations across the European continent from Amsterdam.

The Jakarta-based carrier finds itself in bit of a dilemma with its growing B777 fleet it specifically purchased for above endeavours. In particular, Garuda’s decision to re-introduce first class on the B777 will be decimated if it operates almost exclusively as a regional and domestic airline. Garuda currently has a fleet of six B777-300ER aircraft featuring a 314-seat configuration of eight first class beds, 38 executive (business) class sleepers and 268 economy seats. Click here for a seat plan. It has three more of the model arriving in 2015 and says it will deploy them on existing routes to Saudi Arabia.

In other news, Garuda has appointed Arif Wibowo as president director, replacing Emirsyah Satar. Satar was one of the longest standing airline CEOs in Asia, having joined Garuda in early 2005. Wibowo has worked for Garuda for over two decades and has been CEO of the carrier’s budget subsidiary Citilink since 2012.

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Dominic Sebastian Lalk

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