Garuda Indonesia unveiled their expansion plans at the Arabian Travel Market this week aptly called their ‘Quantum Leap’ program. They plan on increasing their fleet size more than twice fold by 2015 to a staggering 194 aircraft.
Garuda has had a checkered past. Back in 2009 the airline, along with other Indonesian carriers, were banned from flying to the EU for fears on safety. However, they have regrouped and brought themselves back with ever increasing improvements across the board, from safety, to cabin product and now fleet expansion.
Most people probably wouldn’t realise the airline has been running since 1949, making it a strong heritage airline in Asia, not many airlines having the same age and experience behind them. Now joining SkyTeam in early 2013 they have strengthened their position offering a vital link in South East Asia and across the pacific.
Whilst I have noticed them in the past few years, I hadn’t researched into them with great depth until the announcement of this fleet expansion, as they are establishing themselves as a major international player. Taking a look at their products, I have to say I’m impressed. It’s no wonder they are constantly winning awards and have been awarded a 4-star rating by SkyTrax.
The new livery is smart, clean and still speaks to their historical look and feel. It does fall into the ‘white fuselage – bright tail’ bin though, a look that a lot of airlines are now adopting (that said, at least the logo doesn’t just stop at the tail and continues on to the aircraft belly). Which is a little sad, as I do like airlines that understand a livery isn’t just a logo on a billboard. That said, it’s modern, fresh and looks like an international brand.
The uniforms, redesigned in 2010 are bright and stylish and obviously culturally accurate. The on-board product itself is surprisingly strong, and the ‘has to be’ fully flat seats in business class offer heaps of leg room, AVOD and all the creature comforts you could want. The economy class seats all offer AVOD on the wide-body airbus fleet and their new fleet coming into service all will offer greatly improved entertainment options. Looking at Wikipedia, (although not always to be trusted) there is mention that the 777 fleet on order (arriving this year) will contain 4 ‘First Class’ seats, a new not-yet-released product for Garuda Indonesia that will be above their current Executive Class.
The fleet they are currently offering is pretty young, 6.5 years, but the new fleet joining them will bring this down to a very respectable 5.8 years (compared to British Airways fleet age of 12.8!)
Whilst I still haven’t had the pleasure of flying Garuda, they plan on expanding their International network to cover many destinations including a handful in Europe, so hopefully it won’t be long until I do! Have you flown Garuda recently? Share your experience here.