Former Garuda Indonesia employee opens up about ‘prostitution’ allegations involving airline bosses and air hostesses

A plane from the Garuda Indonesia fleet. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A plane from the Garuda Indonesia fleet. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Following the huge Garuda Indonesia luxury goods smuggling scandal, which led to the dismissal of disgraced president director Ari Askhara, more scandalous allegations have been leveled at the flag carrier, most notably that of its air hostesses allegedly being forced to serve airline executives sexually.

Related: Garuda Indonesia boss faces dismissal after audit showed he bought smuggled Harley Davidson parts and Brompton bikes

The allegation came from a hugely viral Twitter thread from an anonymous user with the handle @digeeembok, who has been described in local media as a whistleblower responsible for revealing many purported injustices that have been going on within Garuda. 

@digeeembok initially made waves with revelations about Ari allegedly having a Garuda air hostess as a mistress, who was subsequently given preferential treatment at work at the expense of her colleagues. 

The whistleblower then spilled the tea on other Garuda executives, alleging that its cabin crew VP, Roni Eka Mirsa, is akin to a “pimp” as he had been “prostituting” air hostesses to airline bosses. 

According to @digeeembok, Roni would ground new air hostesses from flying and even withhold their incentives and bonuses if they don’t sleep with his fellow Garuda executives. If an air hostess is fired, @digeeembok said that they would have to sleep with Roni in order to get her job back.

“The evil pimp who has been treating air hostesses like prostitutes is the cabin crew VP. His close friends and senior pilots call him ‘Provider’,” a tweet by @digeeembok read.

A former Garuda air hostess, who goes by the pseudonym Kamboja, has gone on the record in an exclusive interview with Suara confirming @digeeembok’s allegations. 

“It’s true. It’s very, very, very true,” she said.

Kamboja, who joined Garuda in 2010, said it was quite common for airline executives to use air hostesses for sex or have them as mistresses, but such relations were carried out discreetly before Ari assumed the Garuda leadership role in September 2018.

“It used to be that they would do it subtly, because the people at the top weren’t like them. But it’s different now. They dare [to be open in carrying out the practice] because the boss (Ari) is at their level,” she said.

Kamboja’s testimony came after a Garuda flight attendant union also gave weight to @digeeembok’s tweets by revealing that there has been an increase in incidents of sexual harassment against employees ever since Ari took over. The union also spoke about widespread discrimination in the airline under Ari, which involved “prettier” air hostesses being given more desirable airline routes and job trainings.

Meanwhile, Roni denied @digeeembok’s allegations against him and has reported the whistleblower to the police for defamation.

State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir has been leading the charge in what appears to be the cleansing of Garuda from Ari’s influence. After dismissing Ari, the minister and Garuda’s board of commissioners have suspended four airline executives linked to the smuggling scandal.

While Ari and the four executives have yet to be formally charged with any crime, tax officials say they could each face one year in prison for illegally smuggling luxury goods into Indonesia.

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