Kuta, Bali. National airline Garuda Indonesia says it will more than double its fleet before the Asean open-sky policy comes into effect in 2015, allowing airlines from all 10 member countries of the bloc to fly to any destination within the region.
Garuda spokesman Pudjobroto said on Saturday that the airline now had 92 aircraft. “That number will be increased to 194 by 2015,” he said.
Among the planned purchases are five planes from Canada’s Bombardier Aerospace, each with a seating capacity of 100.
“We will use these planes to serve a number of different regions,” Pujobroto said during an eco-event at Kuta Beach.
Garuda, the spokesman said, will need the additional aircraft as it pursues plans to open three more hubs in Makassar, Medan and East Kalimantan’s Balikpapan in anticipation of the open-sky policy and the increased competition it will bring.
He said the decision to procure 100-seat planes was not because Garuda was having trouble filling its wide-bodied aircraft but rather due to the infrastructure realities of the country.
“Lots of new airports are being built in the regions with relatively shorter runways, and therefore we are preparing smaller jet planes,” he said.
Pudjobroto said that with the addition of the new aircraft, Garuda would be ready to compete with foreign airlines, including those from neighboring countries that had previously only served domestic routes.
“It is not going to be a problem finding passengers on domestic routes as the business is growing twice as fast as the national economy,” he said.
Garuda, he said, will continue to concentrate on the premium passenger market while serving low-cost fliers through its Citilink subsidiary.
“Citilink has already ordered 50 of Airbus-320s to serve the segment,” he said.
The low-cost carrier has a fleet of 14 aircraft, all of them Boeing 737-400s or Airbus A320s. Citilink has secured an air operator certificate that allows the airline to operate independently. It now serves eight domestic routes.