Garuda Indonesia seeking to launch US flights

26 Apr 2016 by Clement Huang
Garuda Indonesia hopes to launch flights to the US next year. Speaking to Nikkei Asian Review, the airline’s chief executive Arif Wibowo said he believes that the recent launch of direct flights between Jakarta and London Heathrow could pave the way for it to begin flying to the US next year. After it was placed on the EU blacklist in 2007, Garuda embarked on an ambitious recovery plan that finally saw it resume flights to Amsterdam in 2010. The airline's efforts were subsequently recognised by Skytrax with a five-star rating in 2014 and 2015. Wibowo hopes that this improvement will encourage the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to upgrade Garuda’s safety rating. Under FAA rules, the Indonesian flag carrier currently holds a Category 2 standard, which means that it can’t initiate new services to the US. A Category 1 rating would rectify this, and also allow Garuda to take part in reciprocal codeshare agreements with US carriers. Garuda would thus benefit from its position in Skyteam, as it would be able to leverage off the strength of fellow member Delta Air Lines within the domestic US market. With that clearly in mind, Wibowo has named Los Angeles – one of Delta’s main hubs – as the first US destination that Garuda would most likely serve. Due to geographic constraints (the distance between Jakarta and Los Angeles is simply too far for Garuda to fly profitably non-stop), the Indonesian carrier would most likely have to connect via a third destination. Given Delta’s strong presence at Tokyo-Narita in Asia, it would make sense for Garuda to operate its Los Angeles flights via the Japanese capital. For more information, visit Clement Huang
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