National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has joined global airline alliance SkyTeam as the network’s 20th member and second member based in Southeast Asia. Plans for Garuda’s entrance to the network were announced as early as 2010 as part of the airline’s “Quantum Leap” strategy insuring the airline met the alliance’s entry requirements by setting key growth targets under the leadership of president and CEO Emirsyah Satar.
During the signing event Satar announced the launch of direct flights to Amsterdam from the airline’s hub in Jakarta beginning May 29, 2014, marking Garuda’s nonstop return to Europe. He also confirmed plans for the start of service to Mumbai and Manila in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, in addition to service to Frankfurt planned for 2015.
Present at the ceremony were the 19 other members of the alliance including Air France, China Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Korean Air, along with SkyTeam managing director Michael Wisbrun.
“SkyTeam aims to boost its members’ competitiveness by strengthening the network and hubs, enhancing its global footprint, improving customer experience, and introducing innovative initiatives that enhance customer benefits,” Wisbrun said.
Garuda customers now have access to 1,064 codeshare destinations, 550 SkyTeam lounges, and future cooperation between airlines that could lead to price reductions and increased efficiency.
“In view of the fact that Garuda has a strong network position in Australia and Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia as its fastest growing country, we believe that we are able to offer an extensive network of 40 unique destinations which ideally strengthen the SkyTeam’s global network,” Satar said at the SkyTeam signing event.
SkyTeam offers the Indonesian tourism industry a unique position to access the Chinese consumer market with three existing network members from China. Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu was also present at the event and expressed hope that the alliance would help attract larger numbers of Chinese tourists to the archipelago in line with Indonesian’s targets for foreign tourism.
Looking ahead, Satar noted that the airline could expect an additional 3 to 5 percent increase in passenger growth by joining SkyTeam with long-term financial benefits as well.
“Garuda’s future will depend on its ability to continuously upgrade and innovate—not an easy task in this business as it requires good management and deep pockets,” said aviation analyst Shukor Yusof of Standard & Poor’s Equity Research. “It will also depend on how the Indonesian government sees the future of aviation within Indonesia, as well as externally, and quickly develop its aging infrastructure across the archipelago.”
For more information, visit SkyTeam.