Garuda steps up its cargo game

It appears a new era of well-founded optimism has descended on Garuda Indonesia, in part coinciding with solid and ongoing economic growth with the country’s gross domestic product forecast to grow about 6 per cent in 2012, largely driven by rising domestic consumption and a commodities boom. With a cautiously ambitious route expansion and fleet renewal now unfolding, the carrier expects to have a fleet of 194 aircraft by 2015, of which three will be freighters, marking the airline’s first foray into the maindeck market. By Donald Urquhart.

cargo game

Speaking at a press briefing in Singapore, Garuda Indonesia president and CEO, Emirsyah Satar, said the carrier plans to add three A330-200 freighters – “we are very conservative,” he says – from end-2013 as part of its expansion plan which will see its overall fleet grow from 92
aircraft currently to 194, although 50 of those aircraft will be operated by its low cost subsidiary Citilink. Citilink was established in 2001 as the low-cost subsidiary of Garuda running shuttle
services between Indonesian cities using a fleet of B737 aircraft out of Surabaya, East Java.

“Right now cargo is a strategic unit, it’s a separate business unit and we are looking forward in terms of setting up a team and growing,” he said. In reference to Indonesian growth, Satar said the government has come out with the MP3EI, or masterplan for economic acceleration in the country to 2025, in which Indonesia is divided into six corridors for economic development –
“this means the growth of those corridors needs connections, meaning that not only passenger traffic will go up there, but also the cargo goods – that is another potential market in the domestic area.

“We see also with the investments coming into Indonesia, the potential for international goods,” which he cites the example of goods to and from Hong Kong and China, now go mostly via Singapore. “Garuda Indonesia is not enjoying those markets so there is a potential for growth,” he said. “It is a good problem to have,” he added.