Nov 20, 2012

Garuda reinstates Brisbane flights as Indonesia booms

So you think flying between here and Indonesia is all about us going to Bali. Wrong, very wrong!

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Garuda’s announcement of a return to Brisbane with frequent single aisle services to Bali and then on to Jakarta is interesting for the scale it gives to the consequences for Australia-Indonesia air travel sector of the increased consumer wealth in the vast archipelago to our north.

Surely the most important thing about Indonesia is not the size of the Australia to Indonesia market, but the Indonesia originating market, which as is the case with China, going to be of enormous size in its own right.

Garuda’s plans talk about 737-800s. They will be large twin aisle jets within 10 years, as is already the case for its services to larger Australian cities.

The question for Australian airlines and their investors and employees is how much of the action they can secure.

As has often been discussed here in the past, gaining traction for Australian airlines within Indonesia is anything but easy, or certain, but the scale of the traffic that is emerging nevertheless makes it imperative to try to become a part of it.

Other Asia-Pacific states have exactly the same challenges. So far, the trans border brand AirAsia, seems to be the most advanced in it efforts, with its founder Tony Fernandes recently moving house to Jakarta to better work the politics and the opportunities for his part owned Indonesia subsidiary.

The next most obvious play of the moment is that of Tiger Airways Singapore, which has taken a minority stake in a revived Mandala operation.

This is what Garuda said about Brisbane, and much more:

Garuda Indonesia, the airline of Indonesia, will reintroduce services from Brisbane to Jakarta and Denpasar starting August 2013 after a five year break.

Announced by Garuda Indonesia president and CEO, Emirsyah Satar at the Garuda Indonesia Travel Fair in Jakarta, the new route is part of the airline’s Quantum Leap strategy, which aims to boost the airline’s competitiveness significantly by 2015.

Commenting on the new route, Bagus Y. Siregar, Vice President for Garuda Indonesia Australia and SWP said: “Australian travel to Indonesia is growing every year, with a 20% increase in passenger numbers in the first half of this year on the same period in 2011. We have also seen a significant growth in demand in Queensland, particularly in the leisure sector.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer our Queensland customers the opportunity to fly direct to Indonesia on our Boeing 737-800 NextGen. Flights will operate six times per week from Brisbane via Denpasar to Jakarta, and cater to both the leisure and corporate market.”

Speaking at the Garuda Indonesia Travel Fair, Emirsyah Satar also announced significant fleet expansion plans: “Next year we will receive 24 new aircraft comprising of four B777-300ER, ten B737-800 NextGen, two Airbus A330-200, one A330-300 and seven Bombardier CRJ-1000 NextGen. This will allow us to expand our domestic and international network.”


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5 thoughts on “Garuda reinstates Brisbane flights as Indonesia booms

  1. comet

    The 2007 crash of Garuda flight 200 in the city of Yogyakarta, resulting in the death of Australian Financial Review journalist Morgan Mellish, the destruction of Sydney Morning Herald journalist Cynthia Banham’s legs, and the deaths of 21 other people, is still too fresh on my mind to consider flying with Garuda.

    The horrific video is on YouTube, with vision that was originally filmed by a Seven Network camera man who was aboard the ill fated flight.

  2. Ben Sandilands

    It’s on mine too and I have been criticised by various readers for raising Garuda matters in the past. But I see this as being about Indonesia, not so much Garuda, just as I have entirely different feelings about France and Air France.

    Hundreds of millions of people who are our neighbors, near or not so near, are getting closer to their place in the sun, and air transport has for more than 60 years, fascinated me and quite late in life, began to demonstrate the power and perils of mass mobility. Indonesia is on our doorstep yet we scarcely it seems to me comprehend the changes that are underway, with air travel being like the tiny gears that help a large machine move.

    I think the immediate future of air transport in this hemisphere is part of an awesome emergence of aspirations, abilities, and mobilities (even more so in information technology) and I think this is a time of opportunity for Australian airlines, and worry that it will come and go before this industry acts on them.

  3. mrsynik

    Ben – Speaking of flight reintroductions to BNE, is there any news whether JAL will start flying there again after pulling out in 2009? Or whether Virgin Aus might finally launch Australia – Japan flights? The options these days particularly on BNE – NRT trips are invideous.

  4. comet

    Re Yogyakarta: I guess it’s only a fluke that Qantas didn’t end up the same way in Bangkok, looking at the photos of its Bangkok crash.

    Re Indonesia: It’s very strange that there aren’t more direct flights between Australia and Indonesian cities (beyond Bali). Maybe it reflects that Australians aren’t taking advantage of the business opportunities in Indonesia. With the Indonesian economy on track to eventually eclipse the size of Australia’s, there must be a lot of missed opportunities in that area.

  5. kiwikurt

    Ben, my criticism (although I don’t see it like that) regarding the mention of Yogyakarta has never been about bringing it up. I’m all for the mentioning of it – a henis slur on aviation. My issue has been that Garuda are a very different beast from what they were in 2007 and indeed 2008 when I began to frequently fly domestically with them. So different that I feel more comfortable with them than many other airlines.

    On Indonesia-Australia/NZ traffic it only serves to prove just how much Qantas has dropped the ball in its wanton desire to self-destruct Qantas International. I flew Qantas a couple of times CGK-AKL via SYD VV and it’s difficult to even book a ticket with the barriers they put up (strangely absent when booking with JetStar, not that I would). Those barriers are reflected in the atrocious load factors I observed on the CGK-SYD VV legs. Qantas I’m sure will withdraw from the Indonesia market entirely but it will be a situation of its own making.

    On flights via SIN with SQ to PER, BNE and AKL I always observe a large number of transiting passengers along with myself from/to CGK, from both Business and Economy cabins. The volume of connecting passengers ex AKL. It doesn’t surprise me that the AKL-DPS trial of NZ was so successful that they have extended the season for next year.

    There are indeed missed opportunities.

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