Mumbai-Jakarta takes flight

Mumbai seems to have caught the eye of the Garuda. Af­ter com­menc­ing flights be­tween Mumbai and Jakarta with a pit stop in Bangkok, the air­line now wants a di­rect non-stop to cut down the turn­around time, re­veals M. Arif Wi­bowo, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Garuda I

TravTalk - India - - MOVEMENTS - HAZEL JAIN FROM IN­DONE­SIA

QWhy did you choose Mumbai for your de­but into India? India has been a part of our mile­stone for ex­pan­sion of our global net­work. One thing that we had to con­sider is that not only the China mar­ket, but even the India mar­ket has a lot of po­ten­tial for us and needs to be ex­plored. We con­sid­ered Mumbai be­cause of the traf­fic po­ten­tial it of­fers. The mar­ket size from India to In­done­sia is more than 3,00,000 trav­ellers and around a third of this comes from Mumbai. This gets di­vided into two des­ti­na­tions – Bali which gets around 45 per cent of this traf­fic and Jakarta which gets the rest. The re­verse traf­fic is also good. In­done­sia is cur­rently one of the largest mar­kets to India with 350,000 peo­ple cur­rently trav­el­ling to the re­gion on both busi­ness and leisure.

QHow do you plan to ex­pand your op­er­a­tions in India? We have started with the Jakarta flight for which we con­sid­ered Bangkok as the tran­sit point. But in the fu­ture we will con­sider hav­ing a di­rect flight de­pend­ing upon the mar­ket re­sponse. We may soon re­place the one-stop ser­vice to a non-stop di­rect flight from Jakarta to Mumbai or even con­sider a Bali-Mumbai di­rect flight. The open­ing of our flight to Mumbai is part of our in­ter­na­tional net­work de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, es­pe­cially in the South Asia re­gion, as well as our strong com­mit­ment to sup­port the In­done­sian gov­ern­ment’s aim to double the num­ber of in­ter­na­tional tourists vis­it­ing the coun­try by 2019. We will first study the de­mand for the first three months and if we see growth, we may also plan to in­crease the fre­quency.

QWhat about other ci­ties in India? Apart from Mumbai, we also see po­ten­tial in New Delhi and Chen­nai mar­kets. But first, we want to con­cen­trate on Mumbai. If we see growth dur­ing the first three months we will in­crease the ca­pac­ity also and af­ter a year we will con­sider other ci­ties from the India mar­ket.

QWhat is the kind of mar­ket share that Garuda en­joys in India? The cur­rent mar­ket share of Garuda In­done­sia is only 27 per cent and we aim to take this to at least 40 per cent if not more. So by 2019, we ex­pect Garuda to help our gov­ern­ment reach the 20 mil­lion tourist mark it has set for it­self. We will be of­fer­ing the best fares to travel agents from India.

QWill the agents get to ex­pe­ri­ence the air­line? Yes, we plan to host travel agents on fa­mil­iari­sa­tion trips so that they have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of our coun­try and be able to sell not only the des­ti­na­tion but also the air­line bet­ter. In fact, we re­cently hosted 18 travel agen­cies in part­ner­ship with a ma­jor DMC in In­done­sia called Dio­rama Travel Man­age­ment on our in­au­gu­ral flight from Mumbai to show­case the des­ti­na­tion as well as our con­ve­nient do­mes­tic con­nec­tions. One agency was from Ahmed­abad, two from Pune and the rest were from Mumbai. This in­cluded top op­er­a­tors like Thomas Cook, SOTC, Veena World and Ak­bar Hol­i­days. So within In­done­sia, we flew them from Jakarta-Bali, Bali-Jog­jakarta, and fi­nally Jog­jakarta-Jakarta for their re­turn flight to Mumbai. Our gov­ern­ment has put a pri­or­ity to en­able tourists to ex­plore our top 10 des­ti­na­tions and Garuda is con­nected to eight of these 10 des­ti­na­tions from ei­ther Jakarta or Bali.

QWhat kind of growth are you ex­pect­ing from India in 2017? We ex­pect a growth of 7-8 per cent from the India mar­ket in 2017 be­cause of the grow­ing eco­nomic trade re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries. We ex­pect about 75 to 80 per cent load fac­tor on our flights to India. Our in­au­gu­ral flight from Mumbai to Jakarta recorded 90 per cent seat load fac­tor, which is very promis­ing for us.

M. Arif Wi­bowo Pres­i­dent and CEO, Garuda In­done­sia

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