Garuda in talks to re­sume flights to US

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

MON­TREAL: Garuda In­done­sia, the coun­try’s na­tional car­rier, ex­pects its re­turn to the United States next year with three flights a week to gen­er­ate about 5% of the air­line’s topline pas­sen­ger rev­enue for 2017.

The air­line is now ne­go­ti­at­ing rights to start ser­vice from Jakarta to Los An­ge­les via Ja­pan, CEO Arif Wi­bowo said in an in­ter­view.

He said the new flights would be a “mile­stone” for Garuda, which re­ported US$3.81 bil­lion (RM15.7 bil­lion) in to­tal op­er­at­ing rev­enues in 2015.

Garuda’s plans fol­low an Au­gust an­nounce­ment by the US Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FAA) that In­done­sia’s avi­a­tion safety per­for­mance now meets in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, al­low­ing its car­ri­ers to fly to the United States.

The FAA re­moved the abil­ity of the coun­try’s car­ri­ers to fly to the United States in 2007. In­done­sia has strug­gled with a patchy avi­a­tion record.

Garuda is also con­sid­er­ing a route to New York via Europe, where it flies to Am­s­ter­dam and Lon­don.

“What we are aim­ing is to ... grab mar­ket be­tween In­done­sia and the US,” Wi­bowo told Reuters late Thurs­day on the side­lines of a United Na­tions avi­a­tion as­sem­bly in Mon­treal.

“We can start from three flights per week. Even­tu­ally we are also aim­ing to be­come a daily flight.”

Traf­fic be­tween the US and In­done­sia is about 400,000 pas­sen­gers a year, he said.

Garuda is pub­licly traded but the In­done­sian gov­ern­ment is its largest share­holder with a 60% stake.

The car­rier is in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Boe­ing and Air­bus for at least 22 wide­body planes to re­place A330s that the car­rier has on an op­er­at­ing lease, Wi­bowo said. – Reuters

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