National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is going to provide direct service connecting Jakarta and Auckland, New Zealand, next year and to open sales offices in Taipei, Taiwan, and Haneda, Japan, to expand its Asian reach.
“We are going to open the route in early 2013. New Zealand is a country with tourism and business potential and we would like to grab this market,” Garuda Indonesia president director Emirsyah Satar said in Jakarta on Monday after signing a memorandum of understanding ( MoU ) with Auckland Airport chairman Joan Withers.
He said that Garuda used to fly to New Zealand years ago, but the impact of the country’s monetary crisis in 1998 forced them to close the route in 2004.
The MoU also covered the airline collaboration with the Auckland Airport to promote Indonesian tourism in New Zealand, he said.
“The opening of the Jakarta–Auckland route will also help Garuda passengers to fly to European and Latin American countries,” he said.
Airline sales and marketing director Arif Wibowo said that Garuda will fly seven times a week to Auckland and use the Airbus A330-300 to fly the route.
“We are optimistic that the passenger load will reach 78 percent for this route,” Arif said.
The number of New Zealand tourists increased from 32,100 in 2010 to 33,200 throughout last year.
The publicly listed airline also announced that it would open an office in Taipei on May 24 when the airline launches its first flight to the city, while the Haneda office would open in April.
“This is part of our plan to expand business in Taipei and Japan because the Asian market is very promising,” Garuda spokesperson Ikhsan Rosan told The Jakarta Post.
According to data from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, the number of tourist arrivals from Taiwan has increased steadily in recent years, with 236,000 Taiwanese visiting the nation in 2011, up from 213,000 in 2010. In February 2012, 14,100 Taiwanese visited Indonesia.
The Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Jakarta recorded 156,000 Indonesian tourists visiting Taiwan in 2011, up 26 percent from 2010.
“We will fly to Taipei daily and to Haneda from Denpasar five times a week,” he said.
The firm targets a 75 percent passenger load factor on both routes.
Garuda has 21 overseas sales offices in cities including Amsterdam, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Riyadh, Shanghai and Sydney.
The airline recently opened an office in Beijing to take advantage of the world’s second-largest economy.
Since the company first entered the Chinese market in 2002 with flights from Jakarta to Guangzhou, it has expanded service to five flights a week on the Jakarta-Beijing route and seven flights a week on the Jakarta-Guangzhou and Jakarta-Shanghai routes.
Garuda aims to provide daily Jakarta-Beijing service.
“In 2015, our passengers will reach 32.5 million from both domestic and international flights,” he said.
Garuda’s total number of passengers was 17 million in 2011, up 36 percent from 12.5 million in 2010, including 13.9 million domestic passengers and 3.2 million international passengers.
The airline expects to serve 22 million passengers in 2012, up 29 percent from 2011.
Moreover, the airline recorded a 39.06 percent increase in revenue in 2011 to Rp 27.16 trillion ( US$2.96 billion ) and an operating income of Rp 1.01 trillion after suffering Rp 67.16 billion in operating losses in 2010.
The airline will launch a Jakarta–Taipei route and a Denpasar–Tokyo route via Haneda Airport in April and May, flying Boeing B737-800 Next Generation ( NG ) and Airbus A330-200 aircraft. ( nfo )