Erratic. This is how Garuda Indonesia network strategy could be described as the airline in less than one year announced three times to stop its regular service to London Heathrow either from Denpasar or Jakarta. To just come back a few weeks later. Newest U-turn: the launching of a Denpasar-Medan-London route… but how long will it last?
After announcing at the end of June to definitely suspend its London Heathrow-Jakarta/Denpasar (Bali) route due to low yields, Garuda relaunched the route in early August with a new rotation. Garuda Indonesia’s new service is now connecting the British capital to Denpasar, however with a stop in Medan in North Sumatra. This is the first time in over two decades that Medan is again connected to Europe.
In the early nineties, some of Garuda flights from Europe used to make a stop in Sumatra largest city. The route is expected to boost tourist arrivals from Europe to the province, especially to Lake Toba in Samosir regency. Lake Toba is considered by the government as one of the new ten priority destinations to promote overseas. The non-stop Medan-London route aims to support the government’s program.
“Thanks to the new route, London now is connected to the city of Medan and Denpasar in Bali,” the national flag carrier’s General Manager for Sumatra, Berthon Hutapea, as recently quoted by Antara news agency.
The flight departs from Kualanamu International Airport in Medan and Heathrow airport in London at 12:40 a.m. and 9:45 p.m. local times, respectively. The new service is available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The flight then goes further to Denpasar that it reaches in two hours and a half. An Airbus A330-200 is serving the route with two classes of service – Economy and Business class.
Over ten million passengers fly from and to Medan Kualanamu international airport, turning into the fifth busiest air facility in Indonesia and the largest airport in Sumatra. It is now linked to a dozen international destinations including Kuala Lumpur KLIA and Subang, Penang, Bangkok, Chennai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jeddah and Riyadh as well as London.