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Garuda Indonesia has postponed the launch of its Jakarta-London flights to May 2014, a delay of six months from the previously-planned date of November 2 this year.
The route was intended to showcase Garuda's factory-fresh flagship Boeing 777-300ER and its new first class suites, and spearhead the airline's drive to be seen as a world-class carrier.
However, Garuda says that the 28 year-old runway and apron at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport are not strong enough to carry the Boeing 777 if the aircraft was to operate with a full load of passengers, cargo and fuel sufficient for the 7,300 mile flight.
The airport's operating surfaces are rated to handle only 120 tons while at full capacity the Boeing 777-300ER would require a rating of 132 tons.
With the necessary upgrading work on the runway and apron not scheduled for completion until May next year, Garuda said that the alternative to waiting was to fly the Boeing 777 with a restricted take-off weight achieved by carrying 39 fewer passengers, no cargo and less fuel, which would necessitate making a mid-flight stopover somewhere in Europe.
"The implementation of this flight with these conditions in this competitive world of air travel would have a serious effect on the operational and business requirements of this route", the airline said in a statement.
Sydney's short-term Boeing 777 service
Garuda had previously scheduled the Boeing 777 to begin flying between Sydney and Jakarta from October 27, five days prior to the launch of its London service and thus tapping into the Kangaroo Route market.
Garuda says the Boeing 777-300ER's debut on the Sydney-Jakarta route will be pushed back to November 8 but will fly that path for just under six weeks, until December 18.
"The aircraft will then be deployed to another region until our Jakarta to London service begins in 2014, when the aircraft will fly from Sydney to Jakarta and onto London direct” the airline says.
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