Indonesia is one of the fastest tourism destination and outbound markets this year and Garuda is poised to handle the traffic as its network expands. The airline’s direct route from London to Jakarta will start next year.
Garuda Indonesia will start its London route next year. What can passengers expect that is different to other airlines?
For one, this new route is the first of its kind; Garuda Indonesia is the first airline to offer non-stop flights from London to Jakarta so customers can expect a much smoother journey than they would with other airlines.
On board, we differentiate ourselves by offering a full Garuda Indonesia experience; unique Indonesian hospitality and an award winning economy class cabin. We offer a much more authentic experience to customers by adding little touches on board from an Indonesian chef to fresh flowers.
The route launch has been delayed due to issues at Jakarta airport. What changes are being made to the airport to accommodate your B777 and is this on track for May?
Runway maintenance is now in progress as part of the airport’s program to serve domestic and international airlines.
Everything is on schedule for a May 2014 launch as we are working closely with the Jakarta Airport Authority to ensure that this happens.
From Jakarta, what connecting/onward flights do you expect will be popular with UK passengers?
Bali, Lombok and Yogyakarta are key tourist destinations beyond Jakarta that Garuda Indonesia is already serving.
We are quite certain that the new route from London will also be very appealing for those looking to connect to Sydney.
Ultimately, this new route will increase connectivity to all of Southeast Asia and reduce the hassle of multiple connections.
We hear Indonesia is a growing outbound market, but what expectations do you have for the London route launch?
We do have high expectations as this will be the only non-stop route from London to Jakarta and already approximately 190,000 Brits travel to Indonesia every year for business and leisure; the UK is the number one market for travel to Indonesia.
Since announcing plans to serve London, we have received a very encouraging response from UK travel agents, tour operators and companies doing business in Indonesia.
The travel trade in particular seem very keen to promote the new route, even though it is not yet on sale.
What travel trade initiatives do you have in place?
We work very closely with the travel trade and business partners. Currently, we are planning several agent trips out to Indonesia to experience the aircraft first-hand as well as the destination.
We will also reach out to the trade through events like Thirsty Thursday.
Aside from the London launch, what is new at Garuda?
We have recently launched our new first class service which is a premium service with an exquisite touch of unique Indonesian hospitality and have extended it to our award winning economy class and reputable executive class.
The new First Class will allow passengers to enjoy the innovative Chef on Board service where passengers can choose from a selection of delicious meals, prepared on-board by a dedicated Garuda Indonesia chef. We are setting a new standard of quality and value in air travel.
We are confident that the inauguration of our First Class service will take our services to an entirely new level of excellence.
Additionally, 10 new aircraft have been ordered. July 2013 saw the arrival of the first new aircraft and there will be subsequent deliveries up until January 2016. These will hold eight First Class seats, 38 Business Class seats and 268 Economy Class seats.