SkyTeam member Garuda aims to be “global airline”

TD Guest Writer

Guest Writers are not employed, compensated or governed by TD, opinions and statements are from the specific writer directly

Garuda Indonesia is hoping to become known as a “global airline” following its induction into the SkyTeam Alliance.

The national carrier officially became SkyTeam’s 20th member in a ceremony in Bali on 5 March 2013, joining the likes of Delta Air Lines, Air France, KLM and Korean Air.

Garuda is renewing its fleet, including the addition of long-range Boeing 777s
Garuda is renewing its fleet, including the addition of long-range Boeing 777s

This major development comes less than five years since Garuda was removed from the EU’s aviation blacklist, and forms part of a ‘Quantum Leap’ strategy that includes revamping the airline’s fleet, raising standards, and turning Garuda into a global brand.

“Becoming a member of SkyTeam will further strengthen Garuda Indonesia’s reputation as a world class airline, and puts it on par with other leading global airlines,” the national carrier’s president & CEO, Emirsyah Satar, told attendees at the signing ceremony.

Satar said that the SkyTeam membership could lead to a 3-5% increase in passenger numbers, although he added that more work needs to be done to get word out to the flying public.”

“We just need to work together and with passengers so they know we’re a member of Sky Team,” he said.

But there are good reasons for Garuda to be optimistic; by joining SkyTeam the airline will be able to tap a network of 1,064 new destinations, covering over 90% of the most relevant traffic flows in the world. “We will be feeding more passengers to SkyTeam and they will feed to us,” said Satar.

Garuda will become SkyTeam's 20th member
Garuda will become SkyTeam’s 20th member

SkyTeam also gains from the partnership; Garuda’s network will add 40 new destinations to the alliance’s route map, including many fast-growing Indonesian cities.

Among the dignitaries who attended the Bali ceremony was Mari Elka Pangestu, Indonesia’s minister of tourism & creative economy, who said the move would boost the country’s travel industry.

SkyTeam’s network will “help promote Indonesia as a destination that can really help tourism”, she said in a dinner speech at the signing ceremony.

And there is plenty of scope for growth in terms of Indonesian tourism. Last year Southeast Asia’s largest and most populous country welcomed just 8.8 million international visitors – just a third of the totals achieved by Thailand or Malaysia.

But with Garuda launching its first flights to London in May 2014, and being able to tap into SkyTeam’s global traffic flow of approximately 588 million passengers, the future for both Garuda and Indonesia looks bright.
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