National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia expects to grow its market in Europe by relaunching its Jakarta to Amsterdam route with better services and new aircraft, CEO Emirsyah Satar said here Tuesday.
“Europe will play an integral role in our 5-year ‘Quantum Leap’ strategy, which includes growing our international network as well as developing new concepts for both business and leisure travel,” Garuda CEO and president director Emirsyah Satar said after the arrival of the GA088 at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.
Garuda stopped flying to Amsterdam in late 2004 to increase efficiency and three years later the European Union imposed a flight ban on Indonesian airlines for safety reasons.
“Establishing a strong presence in Amsterdam and the rest of Europe is an important element in meeting those growth targets,” said Emirsyah.
Through the Quantum Leap strategy, Garuda plans to increase the number of aircraft to 116 in 2014, the number of passengers to 27.6 million in 2014 from 10.3 million in 2008, and raise its operating revenue from Rp 18.1 trillion in 2008 to Rp 57.9 trillion in 2014.
“We’re also planning to launch an Initial Public Offering [IPO] before the end of this year and our return to Europe is pivotal in determining the success of the IPO. We want to raise approximately US$300 million to support these long-term growth plans,” Emirsyah added.
Garuda has signed a deal with Dutch airlines KLM to provide other destinations for its passengers and is in the process of joining the Sky Team alliance.
CFO Schiphol Group Pieter Verboom praised Garuda’s decision to fly to Amsterdam.
“We are honored that Garuda Indonesia selected Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to be the first airport to reopen connections to Europe. The new service also offers hassle free connections via Schiphol Airport to many European destinations,” he said.
“Garuda Indonesia’s return to Amsterdam opens a new area for passengers to travel between Asia and Europe. Passengers can also choose Jakarta as an alternative gateway to Southeast Asia and Australia.
We are confident this route will strengthen relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands, both in business and leisure,” he added.
Earlier, Transportation Minister Freddy Numberi welcomed the relaunch of Garuda’s Jakarta-Amsterdam flight.
“Why Amsterdam? Because we [Indonesia and the Netherlands] have an emotional relation. I can tell you that Garuda passengers will be able to get their visa onboard the plane from Amsterdam without any need to queue for visa on arrival,” he said during the departure ceremony of the Garuda flight.
After landing at Schiphol, the GA088 received a water salute from the Dutch Fire Brigade to welcome the airline that had stopped flying to Europe for nearly six years.
Following its European route to Amsterdam, Garuda plans to open other routes to Frankfurt, London, Paris and Rome.