Garuda Indonesia has enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds in recent aviation industry history. Once dogged by a poor reputation for safety and service, it is now seen as one of the region’s premier airlines and has won numerous prestigious industry awards.
Now Garuda is hoping to translate that success into further international expansion with plans to re-enter the United States aviation market for the first time in two decades with potential routes connecting Jakarta to Los Angeles and New York.
In an interview with Antara, Garuda Indonesia’s president director M Arif Wibowo said that expanding into the US in 2017 was an important part of the company’s 5-year plan and that the potential market for the US was huge, with around 400,000 passengers flying between Indonesia and the US each year – the vast majority of which fly out of Los Angeles and New York.
“The number of potential passengers departing from Los Angeles is 120,000, while many more depart from New York,” Arif said.
Arif said the company wanted to do direct flights from Indonesia to the US, but due to current limitations the planned routes would stop in Tokyo’s Narita Airport first.
However Garuda’s plans are entirely dependent on the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Indonesia is currently being audited by the FAA to see if it the country’s aviation industry meets the administration’s Category 1 safety and security standards. Indonesia currently has Category 2 status, which prevents Indonesian airlines operating flights inside the United States directly.
Officials at the Ministry of Transportation said the results of the FAA audit would be released no later than July and were optimistic that they would be able to earn a Category 1 rating.
“All of the documents (for the audit) have been accepted and God willing, this July, we will get the good news as a Ramadan holiday gift,” said Mohammad Alwi, the director of Airworthiness and Aircraft Operations at the Transportation Ministry.
Source: Jakarta Coconuts