Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Dec Jan2011 2012. Contents 38 AsianAviation | DECEMBER 2011 / JANUARY 2012
Garuda Indonesia is striving to be
counted among Asia s top-tier
carriers by 2014 and to become
the region s preferred airline the
following year. Despite success
in its e orts to improve safety
standards, Garuda s President Director Emirsyah
Satar says the airline is haunted by its past reputation
and still has much to do to repair the damage.
Rebuilding a brand is more di cult than building
one from scratch, he adds.
Garuda has embarked on a public relations
campaign to clean up its tainted image in Australia --
the carrier s fourth-largest market. Emirsyah admits
Garuda has had a hard time attracting Australian
passengers, although this is slowly changing as
the carrier promotes its achievements and the
improvements it has made.
Emirsyah was appointed to his current position in
2005, with a mandate to turn Garuda from a debt-
riddled airline with a poor record on safety, into a
pro table carrier attracting passengers worldwide. At
the time, the airline was in no nancial position to even
lease an aircra without the approval of its creditors.
Garuda faces intense competition on ser vices
between Indonesia and Australia, as the market is
now dominated by low-cost carriers AirAsia, Jetstar
and Paci c Blue, as well as Australia s Qantas. e
routes have historically attracted mostly leisure
tra c but Emirsyah says there has been an increase
in business tra c to Jakarta over the past two years.
e Indonesian ag carrier operates to Melbourne
from Jakarta and Bali, to Sydney from Jakarta and to
Perth from Bali.
Garuda was hurt by the 2007 ban on 51 Indonesian
carriers operating to the European Union (EU),
imposed a er a series of fatal accidents involving
the country s airlines -- including the ag carrier. In
March that year a Garuda Boeing 737-400 crashed
on landing at Yogyakarta, killing 21 of the 140
passengers on board and triggering the EU sanctions.
e ban was li ed from the airline, along with three
other Indonesian carriers, in July 2009. Garuda then
began a complete image overhaul, which included
changing the airline s livery, uniforms and logo.
Emirsyah says Garuda had to work hard to convince
the EU that it had improved standards su ciently to
li the operating ban, a move which was crucial for the
airline. Garuda has invested millions to upgrade safety,
and is to date the only Indonesian carrier to obtain
IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certi cation.
A five-year plan was drawn up to more than
double the size of the eet. e carrier ordered for
ten Boeing 777-300ER twin-aisle twinjets, 68 single-
aisle 737-800s (including options) and 12 widebody
Six A330-200s and 48 737-800s have already been
delivered. Garuda took delivery in October of its
latest 737, featuring the new 'Boeing Sky Interior
cabin, based on the manufacturer s 787 'Dreamliner
cabin. Every seat is equipped with a state-of-the-art
audio- and video -on-demand (AVOD) system.
In keeping with the 'Garuda Indonesia Experience
ser vice concept launched in 2009, the interior is
decorated in traditional Indonesian style, featuring
batik seat upholstery and a woven bamboo motif on
e remaining 737-800s will be delivered through
to 2015 and will all feature similar interiors. e
' uantum Leap transformation program initiated
in 2009 will see Garuda s existing eet of 89 aircra
expanded to 154, with an average age of ve years --
down from eight years in 2010.
By 2015 Garuda expects to be carrying 35.2
million passengers a year, up from 12.5 million in
2010. Nineteen 737-300/400/500s and three 747-
400s will be gradually phased out of service as new
One 777-300ER, two A330-200s and six 737-
800 airliners will be delivered in 2012. e 777,
scheduled for delivery in February will be deployed
between Jakarta and Amsterdam -- a route currently
operated daily by smaller A330-200 aircra , with a
technical stop in Dubai. e remaining nine 777s
will be delivered on a staggered schedule through
Garuda operates from three hubs, Soekarno -Hatta
International Airport (HIA) in Jakarta, Ngurah Rai
International Airport in Denpasar and Hasanuddin
International Airport (HIA) in Makassar. Making
Makassar a hub is part of the airline s domestic
network expansion strateg y and also in tandem with
the national 'Six Economic Corridors development
Garuda hopes to tap increasing demand for
passenger travel to and from Makassar, as well
as stimulating the local economy in turn. The
provincial capital of South Sulawesi is fast becoming
an important business location in the eastern region
of the archipelago.
e carrier is already o ering ights from the city
to Singapore and Balikpapan using 737-500 aircra .
Medan will be become the airline s fourth hub
a er the opening of the Kuala Namu International
Airport. Construction of the facility, which has
already been delayed more than a year, is expected to
be completed in late 2012.
Garuda had to work hard to
convince the EU that it had
improved standards sufficiently
to lift the operating ban, a move
which was crucial for the airline.
Garuda s fleet expansion plan has included an order for ten Boeing 777s.
aims for the top
Garuda faces an uphill struggle to restore its reputation and become a top-tier Asian airline, writes William Dennis.
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