Garuda Indonesia’s codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which became effective on Sunday, will enable Indonesia’s national flag carrier to take advantage of Etihad’s network in the Middle East, Europe, North America and Africa.
Under the agreement, Garuda will be able to extend its services to 80 destinations in the 50 countries served by Etihad Airways, while Etihad will provide more connections for their passengers to Indonesia, Australia and Japan.
“The codeshare agreement between Garuda Indonesia and Etihad Airlines will further strengthen the global network of both airlines and provide increased benefits to all our passengers,” Garuda president director Emirsyah Satar told Indonesian journalists attending the signing ceremony of the codeshare agreement in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 18.
The agrement is a follow-up to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two airlines in September that covered passenger codeshare, cargo cooperation, airport service improvement, enginering and maintenance, lounge services and frequent flyer programs.
Garuda has made codeshare agreements with 11 other airlines that include Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Hainan Airlines, China Airlines and Virgin Australia.
Garuda currently flies four times a week from Jakarta to Amsterdam through Dubai. With the codeshare agreement, starting Dec. 2, Garuda’s planes flying to Amsterdam will transit in Abu Dhabi so that passengers who hold tickets to other cities will be able to fly on Etihad planes.
Through the agreement, Garuda will become a marketing party of Etihad Airways and sell tickets for the airline to fly from Abu Dhabi to other cities, including Paris, London, Frankfurt, Milan, Munich, Manchester, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Geneva, Brussels, Athens, New York, Toronto, Chicago, Cairo, Bahrain, Kuwait and Beirut.
Garuda resumed flights to Amsterdam on June 1, 2010 for the first time in six years after the European Union eased a ban on the nation’s airlines following a series of fatal accidents.
The codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways will help the airline to expand its services to other European cities.
“This agreement is very important for Garuda because it is unlikely that we or any other airlines could operate airplanes to reach all destinations across the world,” said Satar.
Garuda serves 32 domestic and 18 international destinations. Currently, it operates 85 airplanes. This year, it will receive 20 more planes comprising four 737-800NGs, two A330-200s, nine A320s for City-Link and five sub-100 seater bombardier CRJ1000s. The airline plans to operate 194 planes in 2015.
Meanwhile, under the agreement, Etihad Airways will act as marketing party for Garuda flights from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta to Abu Dhabi, and from Jakarta to other Indonesian cities like Surabaya, Denpasar, Manado, Makassar and Balikpapan.
“Etihad Airways is keen to expand the scope of cooperation with Garuda to include new destinations, particularly in Indonesia, and to offer our guests a wider choice of travel options,” said Etihad Airways president and chief executive officer James Hogan.
“Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous nation, is an important source of global tourism growth and this new agreement will position both airlines to benefit from the strong demand for travel between Indonesia and the Middle East and Europe that we have seen in recent years,” he added.
According to Hogan, the cooperation will also stimulate trade in foodstuffs, manufactured goods and other commodities between Indonesia and trading partners in the western hemisphere, which in turn will contribute to the profitability of the airlines’ cargo operation on the route.
From Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways serves 86 passenger and cargo destinations to the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America with 67 Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The airline also holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus.
Indonesian Ambassador to UAE Salman Al Farizi welcomed the cooperation, saying it would improve economic cooperation between the two countries. He said that UAE was the second-largest economy of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries after Saudi Arabia and the largest importing country in the Middle East.
“Seventy percent of the country’s imported goods are re-exported to other Middle East countries,” he said after attending the signing ceremony of the Garuda-Etihad codeshare agreement, adding that trade between Indonesia and the UAE reached US$2.5 billion last year up 27.7 percent from the previous year. This year, the figure had reached $1.4 billion by May.
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