Garuda: big plans for its Boeing 777-300ER

By David Flynn, July 3 2013
Garuda: big plans for its Boeing 777-300ER

Garuda will use its new Boeing 777-300ER fleet to drive a ‘quantum leap’ aimed to transform the Indonesian flag-carrier into one of world’s leading airlines.

That’s a big call, even for Boeing’s big bird, but Garuda Indonesia CEO Emirsyah Satar is a man with a plan.

“This is part of our ‘quantum leap’ strategy to bring Garuda to the next level” Satar told Australian Business Traveller at the launch of the airline’s first Boeing 777-300 in Jakarta this week.

“We are focussing on expanding internationally, and we will continue to rejuvenate our fleet – right now we have one of the youngest fleets, of less than six years old.”

“We are still improving day to day with service, with food, with our service culture and all those things. The Garuda Indonesia experience will be about delivering the best of Indonesia to the world.”

Photos: Garuda’s classy new first class uniform

Most noteworthy for Garuda is that the Boeing 777-300ER marks the airline’s return to the first class market, which it abandoned in the mid-1990s during the Asian financial crisis.

“We’re back but with a different concept” Satar said. “There are better features, better technology and more of what the customer wants.”

This will range from an onboard sous chef to the opening of a new first class lounge at Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta International Airport in September and the introduction of a chauffeur service, although Satar said this would be limited to arrivals and departures at Jakarta “for the time being.”

Photo Gallery: Garuda's new Boeing 777 first class suites, business class seats

Garuda’s Boeing 777-300ER rollout

The first of ten Boeing 777-300ERs to join Garuda’s fleet will begin flying between Jakarta and the Saudi Arabian hub of Jeddah on July 9, at the start of the Muslim observance of Ramadan. A second Boeing 777-300ER is due on July 22.

However, while these will sport Garuda’s new first class and business class seats, they’ll still be fitted with the airline’s current economy seats.

A new economy design will be added to the remaining 777s, beginning with the pair which will service the Sydney and London sectors from October 27 and November 2, respectively.

While Garuda has secured landing slots at London’s Gatwick airport, the airline has its eye on shifting to Heathrow.

“We’re currently flying into Gatwick because Heathrow is quite congested during the prime time, but never the less we are also looking at Heathrow” Garuda’s Satar revealed to Australian Business Traveller.

“Let’s put it this way: we are joining SkyTeam in the first week of March 2014, and the SkyTeam terminal is at Heathrow” he said.

Satar wouldn’t be drawn on the 777’s next destinations after London, but is keen to see them take over flights currently served by Garuda’s 747s, as is the case with the Jakarta-Jeddah service.

Garuda will take delivery of a further two 777s next year, with the remaining four being handed over in 2015.

“We’re trying to move faster next year but it depends on the production line” Satar said. “We would prefer to make it sooner.”

David Flynn is attending the launch of Garuda’s new Boeing 777-30ER in Jakarta as a guest of Garuda Indonesia. 

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 735

Welcome to ausbt: all Garuda, all the time. 

Do Garuda's big plans for their 777-300ERs include not crashing any of them into a mountain? Because that would be nice.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

Hugo, that's a pretty silly and insulting question.

And AusBT has three news stories on Garuda because they are covering this event. Maybe you just don't like that they are about Garuda? I suspect that if these stories were on BA's big plans for its A380 or B787, or Emirates considering a convertible 'all economy class' A380 or 747-8, or Cathay Pacific's new first class uniforms then you wouldn't be complaining.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 362

I'm sorry but this was hilarious

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

Most noteworthy for Garuda is that they've killed ~261 passengers over the last twenty years. They'e got a lot of work to do and from a very, very low base. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

Vote me down all you like, but it's true. 

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 193

In the last 20 years several big airlines have had crashes ending in large numbers of fatalities - AA, KE, AF, JJ to name a few.

Doesn't mean they are bad airlines.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

Absolutely. Only time will tell. 

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

 So tronixstuff, does this mean that KLM is one of the most unsafe airlines in the world?? - One of their training pilots was responsible for the worst airline disaster in history by ploughing his 747 into a Pan Am 747 in Teneriffe.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 732

I wished they would start with ensuring their website works properly, have seen several updates over the past months but seem not to be able to look up any fares witouth encountering errors....

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 125

While Garuda has made drastic changes, I do not think anyone can call it a top Asian airline, it is still no where near SQ or CX who have refined their high end services for decades


09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

Yes and during that time SQ killed many people by taking off on the incorrect runway!!!???

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 132

The same "we are going to be the biggest Asian Airline" has been muttered from the CEO at MAS too. 

So there will be a shoot out between Garuda, Cathay, Singapore and Malaysian to be the biggest and best. 

Not withholding China Southern, China Eastern, EVA, Korean etc etc etc

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

01 Jul 2012

Total posts 8

I'm sorry, but I must admit that I had a laugh at what Hugo said. I think it would take more than just new aircraft for me to fly Garuda.

04 Jun 2013

Total posts 13

Such as ....?

10 Jul 2013

Total posts 2

Those who commented on Garuda's fleet maintenance are simply ignorant bunch of people. Garuda's fleets are maintained by Garuda Maintenance Facility AeroAsia (GMF AeroAsia) which also maintains planes of Qantas, KLM, China Airlines, Korean Air, AirAsia, JAL, MAS and many more airlines. It is certified by FAA, Singapore's CAAS, EASA and many more national certifications agencies around the world. 

Basically, if you think that flying GA is unsafe, you are saying that flying on Qantas, KLM, MAS, JAL, KE, CI, CA, QF, etc ex-Indonesia are unsafe since they all use the same maintenance provider; Garuda Aero Asia. 

25 Feb 2012

Total posts 77

I think the comments were more directed at those flying the plane than the maintenance on the ground .

10 Jul 2013

Total posts 2

In case you don't know, when GA stopped most of its European destinations in the 90s, SQ poached GA widebodies' pilots. :) Must be the first time you heard that SQ employed ex-GA pilot since SQ will never publicize this to maintain its 'safe' image (safe includes taking off on the wrong runway and pilot committing suicide mid-air).

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