Indonesian Minister Puts a Cat Among the Pigeons over Garuda London Flight

Indonesia, air transport, Garuda Indonesia, Europe

While Garuda Indonesia upgraded at the end of last year its Jakarta-London flight to a non-stop service, an Indonesian Minister is asking the carrier to pull out from the unprofitable route.

Let’s call it “to put a cat among the pigeons”. At the end of last week, high rank public servants revealed to newspapers that Rini Sumarno, Minister in charge of State-owned Companies (BUMN) has called on Indonesia national carrier Garuda Indonesia to reconsider its current loss-making Jakarta-London service.

High ranking public servant Gatot Trihargo, a Deputy Minister in the Financial Services Department, made his comments at a public gathering in Jakarta on Sunday, April 22, 2018, explaining that the total estimated size of the Jakarta-London direct flight market is only 35,000 passengers annually. Meanwhile, potential market on the London to Perth market is 350,000 passengers annually.

Mr. Trihargo pointed out that the Jakarta-London route represented then only a fraction of the Australia-London market. Because of this, the BUMN Deputy suggest it is better for Garuda Indonesia to focus on developing domestic routes, a move he said would also have a positive effect on regional economies in Indonesia.

However, Mr. Trihargo forgets to include connecting passengers on the route. The non-stop service actually has made connections to Australia and Bali more attractive. Especially for passengers flying between London and Melbourne with Jakarta appearing now a good transfer point. According to statistics from UK Civil Aviation, there was effectively only 34,890 passengers from the UK to Indonesia in 2017. However, another 10,000 to 12,000 passengers could easily be added to the total for Garuda Indonesia.

Trihargo said the BUMN Minister has always maintained that if the Jakarta-London route proves not profitable, Indonesia national carrier should focus its attentions on developing other, more profitable routes. So far the Minister himself did not confirm or deny the chat of his Deputy…