Garuda to join SkyTeam
next March

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is set to join SkyTeam in March next year as the global alliance's 20th international member and the second Southeast Asian member.

Garuda Indonesia vice president of communications Pujobroto said the airline would have a stronger foothold in the international arena as a result of joining the alliance as it would connect the company to more than 1,000 destinations worldwide. State-run Vietnam Airlines has already joined SkyTeam.

"This will provide our customers with more convenient connections, both domestically and internationally," Pujobroto told The Jakarta Post on Monday in a text message from Seattle, the US.

Garuda is the first Indonesian airline to join SkyTeam and its entry into the alliance is also part of the carrier's continued push into the premium travel market.

Pujobroto said Garuda was now preparing infrastructure and a system to be on par with other members of the alliance such as Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air France, China Airlines, Alitalia, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and Air Europa.

Garuda is currently migrating its reservation system from Automatic Reservation Garuda Indonesia (ARGA) to Altea Passenger Service System (PSS) through Spain's Amadeus system. Its PSS is expected to start running on June 30th, replacing the aging ARGA that has been used since 1987.

According to the airline's Quantum Leap Program, it is aiming to operate 154 aircraft with an average fleet age of 5 years and to carry 32.5 million passengers in 2015.

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