Beleaguered Garuda to cut 97 routes, including Amsterdam and Seoul, in 2022

Garuda Indonesia aircrafts parked on the runway of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in January 2020. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media
Garuda Indonesia aircrafts parked on the runway of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in January 2020. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media

The sad state of affairs at flag carrier Garuda Indonesia continues, as the debt-ridden airline has announced plans to massively shrink its destinations list in the name of operations efficiency.

State-owned Enterprises (SEO) Deputy Minister Kartika Wirjoatmodjo during a meeting with a House of Representatives (DPR) committee yesterday outlined plans for Garuda to cut 97 routes in 2022.

“Garuda will decrease the number of routes and airplanes in its fleet, and it will focus on super premium routes,” Kartika said, without specifying which routes would be terminated.

From 2019, Garuda served 237 domestic and international routes. That number is set to be reduced to 140 if the cuts go ahead in 2022.

According to reports, destinations considered too costly to maintain are set for removal, and these include the majority of long-haul international flights, including Amsterdam and Seoul.

Currently, Garuda flies direct to only a handful of international routes, including major cities in Australia, China, Saudi Arabia, as well as neighbors Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Bangkok. 

Garuda also announced this week that it has inked a codeshare deal with Emirates for 18 international destinations, including London, Dubai, and Johannesburg. The deal, which commences on Jan. 2, 2022, would see Emirates passengers transfer to Garuda planes for connecting flights within Indonesia.

Indonesia’s flag carrier is on the brink of bankruptcy due to years of financial inefficiency, which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Garuda currently has a debt of US$9.8 billion and is locked in debt suspension negotiations with its lessors in order to stay afloat.

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