Garuda to fly London-Amsterdam-Jakarta daily

25 Feb 2015 by Tom Otley

Garuda Indonesia will increase its recently launched Jakarta-Amsterdam-London Gatwick service to daily by the end of this year.

The route began in September 2014 (see news, August 14) and currently operates four times-weekly.

The carrier's CEO Arif Wibowo told Business Traveller: "At the moment, it is a four times a week service, and by the end of the year we are planning daily."

He scotched rumours that the airline has had difficulty filling the Gatwick to Amsterdam sector except for passengers simply flying between the two points.

Wibowo said: "We are seeing a month-by-month improvement in the performance of this flight both in terms of load factor and price. London is a significant backbone for Indonesia.

"Our aim in Europe has to be non-stop flights from Jakarta to all the major points in Europe. To start with it is only Amsterdam, but London is a crucial market and a part of our long-term strategy.

"The market size to Indonesia from then UK is 150,000 passengers each year and so we will increase frequency towards the end of this year."

Wibowo said the reason for the postponement of the direct Jakarta to London Gatwick service was not because of worries over lack of demand, but because of problems with the runway in Jakarta.

"We are still facing a constraint – the runway is not able to operated for the direct flight," he said. "The maximum take-off weight of the B777-300ER is higher than the specification and capabilities of the runway, so the aircraft will take the flight to Amsterdam, but it won't take the full weight in terms of payload."

Wibowo said that other carriers also had one stop down to Jakarta, and the service was still doing well despite the Amsterdam stop.

Frankfurt and Paris are also likely destinations for the carrier's B777-300ER fleet. The airline has a total of ten of the Boeing aircraft ordered, six of which are delivered, and a further three of which are to arrive before the end of the year.

Including other new aircraft deliveries, it will bring the combined Garuda Indonesia and Garuda-owned low-cost carrier Citilink fleet to 150 aircraft.

Improvements at Jakarta International are also part of the airline's strategy, with the new Terminal 3 slated to open by the end of 2016. Garuda and its Skyteam partners will move in and create a base for Skyteam in southern Asia.

The current airport is already operating beyond its original capacity, with airlines parking on remote stands, and there are also plans for a third runway, Wibowo confirmed, though no date has been set.

Responding to worries about aviation safety in the region due to the rapid expansion of Indonesian aviation, Wibowo said that all the airlines are lobbying the government to improve investment in both the ground and air infrastructure.

In other developments, the CEO confirmed Garuda's plans to start or increase scheduled services beyond its current three destinations of Beijing, Shaghai and Guangzhou to include Chengdu, Chongqing, Nanjing, Ningbo, Wuhan, Harbin, Xian, Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Taiyuan.

Tom Otley

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