The Jakarta Post
A red carpet ceremony at Boeing's Everett Delivery Center in Seattle, United States, on Tuesday marked the official delivery of a Boeing 777-300ER from the American aircraft manufacturer to PT Garuda Indonesia.
Boeing senior vice president of sales for Asia Pacific & India Dinesh Keskar symbolically handed over the aircraft to Garuda Indonesia president director Emirsyah Satar.
Emirsyah was accompanied by Indonesian Ambassador to the US Dino Patti Djalal, independent commissioner Peter F. Gontha and Chairul Tanjung, who owns 10.88 percent shares in the national flag carrier.
'This extraordinary aircraft will help us win the Best Business Class and the Best First Class awards', Emirsyah said during the ceremony.
He was referring to two awards ' The World's Best Economy Class and The World's Best Economy Class Seats ' that Garuda received from Skytrax at the recent Paris Air Show.
The aircraft was the first Boeing 777-300ER the national flag carrier expected to receive this year. The second is expected to be delivered in July and two others by year's end.
Garuda Indonesia ordered 10 Boeing 777-300ER as part of its fleet revitalization program. Three aircraft will be ready next year and three more in 2015.
Each aircraft costs Garuda Indonesia around US$150 million.
The handover ended earlier speculation that the delivery might be delayed due to reports of potential engine failure in the aircraft.
The Triple Seven twinjet model is known as Boeing's first fly-by-wire aircraft with computer-mediated controls and the first entirely computer-designed commercial airplane.
It holds the record for the longest distance flown non-stop by a commercial airline and is a comparatively fuel-efficient alternative to other wide-body jets. It has also been rated the safest aircraft based on its accident safety record and high number of flight hours.
Garuda's 777-300ER has 314 seats with the following configuration: 8 first class seats, 38 business class seats and 268 economy class seats.
First class passengers will get privilege of having their meals cooked by a 'chef on board'. There aircraft is also equipped with 'In-flight Connectivity' that includes exConnect facilities (internet connection via WiFi) and exTV (live telecast from prominent international channels).
By 2015, the airline expects to operate as many as 194 aircraft with average age of under 5 years, from the current total of 106 aircraft with an average age of 5.8 years .
This year, Garuda will add 24 new aircraft to its fleet. In addition to four Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, Garuda will also receive three Airbus A330, 10 Boeing 737-800NG and seven Bombardier CRJ1000 NextGen planes.
Commenting on the delivery, Chairul Tanjung said he would try the new aircraft when he and family members perform umrah during Ramadhan.
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