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.”
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.”
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.
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