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Garuda Indonesia Looks at London Rather Than Moscow

While still preparing to join Skyteam –most probably during the first quarter of 2014- Indonesia national carrier Garuda is mulling out its strategy to better serve Europe. The airline announced two years ago to look in priority to Frankfurt, Paris and London and at a later stage to Rome. Garuda reopened in 2010 a European service to Amsterdam served between four and five times per week via Abu Dhabi. According to Emirsyah Satar, Garuda President and CEO, the airline wanted to expand first to Frankfurt –due to the high business turnover out of Germany, then to Paris –due to the Skyteam connection- and then to London. Earlier this year, the carrier evocated to open first Moscow as the Russian traveller’s market is in a midst of a boom to Indonesia.

On February 1st, Garuda Indonesia however announced that it has finally chosen London Gatwick to operate its newest direct flights between the UK and Jakarta. This will make Gatwick the only UK airport to connect passengers directly to the largest economy in South East Asia.

From the fourth quarter of 2013, business and leisure passengers will be able to fly direct between Indonesia and the UK six times per week. Garuda Indonesia will operate a Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft capable of carrying over 300 passengers. The UK is now one of the largest markets to Indonesia with 160,000 people currently travelling to the region on business and leisure.

Increasingly important market for the UK

Indonesia is an increasingly important market for the UK. Bilateral trade is growing and the new direct route will boost business activities between the two countries and help towards meeting that bi-lateral trade commitment.

Announcing Garuda’s arrival, Gatwick’s Chief Executive Stewart Wingate said: “We are delighted that Garuda Indonesia has chosen Gatwick to operate this vital direct route. Despite being a crucial high growth business market for the UK, Indonesia has been underserved with no direct routes to the region from the UK – until now. Jakarta is also a major hub airport for South East Asia, giving UK passengers even more access and choice to the region.

“Whilst the UK is one of the best connected countries in the world, we do need more direct links to key markets such as Indonesia. At Gatwick, we’re playing our part by investing in the airport and, with our airlines, opening new routes to growing economies such as China, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam and now Indonesia. We look forward to welcoming Garuda Indonesia later this year.”

Emirsyah Satar said that the new Jakarta-London direct flight will complement the existing Jakarta – Abu Dhabi – Amsterdam route, as part of the airline's Quantum Leap 2011-2015 programme to develop the international network and become a ‘global player’. “This flight will be more convenient since it will be serving passengers - non-stop - from Jakarta to London with the brand new B777-300ER, which will be equipped with Wi-Fi and a chef on board for First Class passengers. We chose Gatwick, London as the UK airport because of its convenience and good network and accessibility options into Europe and beyond," Satar explained.

At the end of 2012 Garuda Indonesia expanded its flight network to Europe through codeshare agreements with other international airlines, including Etihad Airways.