Former Garuda Indonesia CEO Jailed & Fined

Filed Under: Garuda Indonesia

Ah, Garuda Indonesia. Talk about an airline with great employees but awful leadership. One of Garuda Indonesia’s longest serving CEOs has just been sentenced to eight years in jail.

Former Garuda Indonesia CEO jailed

Emirsyah Satar, who served as Garuda Indonesia’s CEO from 2005 until 2014, was sentenced to eight years in jail and fined ~1.2 million USD last Friday by Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission.

This is related to bribery and money laundering charges back when he was CEO of the airline, and involved ~3.4 million USD in payments he received from third parties over the procurement of planes and engines.

Specifically, Satar had received payments for the airline ordering Airbus A320 and Airbus A330 aircraft (for both Garuda Indonesia, as well as subsidiary PT Citilink), as well as for Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.

Both Airbus and Rolls-Royce have had to pay big fines to settle corruption charges, with Rolls-Royce paying $800 million over bribery allegations in six countries, and Airbus paying $4 billion over corruption charges that span 15 years.

Satar could have received a worse sentence (both a longer jail sentence and a bigger fine), but the court went easy on him because of his role in “bringing Garuda Indonesia recognition as a prestigious airline in the world.”

Garuda Indonesia’s last CEO was also a disaster

Unfortunately the above situation isn’t even an isolated incident at the airline. In late 2019 Garuda Indonesia’s CEO was fired for smuggling goods on the delivery flight of an Airbus A330-900neo from France.

The CEO had brought a disassembled Harley Davidson motorcycle and two Brompton folding bicycles on this delivery flight, but didn’t declare them, as he was clearing trying to avoid paying import taxes.

He had instructed airline staff to find him a classic motorcycle back in 2018. Then the transaction was carried out in April 2019, through a bank transfer to the account of Garuda Indonesia’s finance manager in Amsterdam.

Bottom line

Garuda Indonesia has some incredible staff, though unfortunately the airline has been let down by management repeatedly. Hopefully that’s something that changes eventually, though I don’t have much faith based on the history of the airline…

  1. Good, but small beer…one of his predecessors was complicit in the murder of a passenger ( SIN-AMS, arsenic poisoning in orange juice, in the J cabin, DOA).
    Awful airline, always has been.

  2. That’s been the standard for life in Indonesia for as long as I can remember, it goes from the very top to the bottom and will never change

  3. Paolo lies u tell

    That arsenic poison happened in Y class, on of pilot went to jail for that accion.
    Guess ur hatref dor GA runs deep thaynu feel

  4. You’re a CEO of an airline. Is it really worth your career, legacy, possible jail time just to avoid import taxes on a two folding bikes and a motorcycle? And a Harley at that?!

  5. @ aJ
    Actually 3 people went to jail, including a former CEO. It hardly matters whether the poison was administered in Y or J ( there is still dispute about that, as he was upgraded). Certainly he died in the J cabin, as Garuda refused to make the emergency landing that would have saved his life, but rather continued on for a further 8 hours to Amsterdam, where he was D.O.A.
    This latest episode of corruption is just a continuation of the GARUDA tradition: mired in corruption and characterised by incompetence, treachery and deceit.
    I don’t hate it…but Indonesia deserves better than GARUDA. Sorry that I don’t have a high opinion of an airline that facilitates the murder of passengers.

  6. Yet, the thing is – this guy was the one who turned garuda around from being one of the world’s worst airlines into what was in 2014, a wonderful airline. He made Garuda an airline worthy of pride, worthy of bearing the title of Flag Carrier; a worthy replacement for the de-facto international airline for Indonesians – Singapore Airlines (lol).

    6 years and 5 CEOs later, the airline is in shambles. inconsistent J product, increasing deteriorating domestic/regional Y product. Don’t get me started on their recent, ridiculous publicity stunts.

    Inflight concerts? really?? A full blown launch party just to unveil a new boarding pass design? really??? sounds like a money laundering operation in my opinion. it’s all really fishy business…

    If any Garuda CEO deserves to go to jail for 8 years, let it be Ari Askhara, spare Satar.

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