Puzzling: Garuda Indonesia Amsterdam Changes

Filed Under: Garuda Indonesia

Oh, Garuda Indonesia. They have a great onboard product, but I have no clue what their management team is thinking. For the umpteenth time, Garuda Indonesia has modified their European route network.

Garuda Indonesia Adjusts Amsterdam Flights

Garuda Indonesia only has two destinations in Europe — Amsterdam and London. Understandably Amsterdam is a big market for them, not only since it’s a SkyTeam hub, but also give the ties between the Netherlands and Indonesia.

Garuda Indonesia currently operates a 6x weekly nonstop flight between Jakarta and Amsterdam using a Boeing 777-300ER.

Garuda Indonesia 777-300ER

However, the airline has revealed that they’ll be adjusting this as of next week. The airline will be downgrading the plane they use for the route, they’ll be halving frequencies, and they’ll be changing up the route altogether.

As of October 1, 2019, Garuda Indonesia will instead operate the following flight 3x weekly with an A330-200:

GA88 Bali to Medan departing 8:25PM arriving 11:15PM
GA88 Medan to Amsterdam departing 11:55PM arriving 7:50AM (+1 day)

GA89 Amsterdam to Medan departing 12:05PM arriving 6:25AM (+1 day)
GA89 Medan to Bali departing 7:05AM arriving 11:05AM

So yeah, this is extreme:

  • They’re going from 6x weekly flights to 3x weekly flights
  • They’re going from a 394 seat 777-300ER to a 222 seat A330-200; overall weekly capacity in each direction decreases from 2,364 seats to 666 seats, so they’re reducing capacity by nearly 75%
  • In business class they’re going from fully flat seats with direct aisle access to angled seats in a 2-2-2 configuration
  • Unless you’re traveling to Medan, you’re looking at a one stop routing to Bali, or a one stop routing to Jakarta, which doesn’t give them much of a competitive advantage (and if you’re going to Jakarta, that domestic flight will most likely be on a 737)

Garuda Indonesia’s 777-300ER business class

Garuda Indonesia Already Changed London Flights

Garuda Indonesia’s changes to their Amsterdam flight follow them making an endless number of changes to their London flight. I recently wrote about the sheer number of changes they’ve made to their London service, which is truly bizarre (I won’t cover it here, so check out the previous post).

As of July, Garuda Indonesia’s London flight also operates via Medan. That flight is operated by an A330-200 3x weekly with the following schedule:

GA86 Bali to Medan departing 9:15AM arriving 11:40AM
GA86 Medan to London departing 12:40PM arriving 8:00PM

GA87 London to Medan departing 9:45PM arriving 4:25PM (+1 day)
GA87 Medan to Bali departing 5:25PM arriving 10:00PM

As of October 29, 2019, Gaurda Indonesia will use an A330-900neo for the route. They’re just about to take delivery of their first such plane, as they have 14 on order. The good news is that the A330-900neo will have fully flat business class seats with direct aisle access, though the airline hasn’t yet revealed exactly what we should expect onboard.

Garuda Indonesia A330-900neo

As the airline takes delivery of more A330-900neos, I would guess that the Amsterdam route will also eventually get the plane.

Bottom Line

Garuda Indonesia is significantly reducing capacity to Europe — to Amsterdam we’re seeing nearly a 75% cut in capacity. Furthermore, both London and Amsterdam flights are now operating via Medan, with the final destination being Bali rather than Jakarta.

All of this just puzzles me. I trust that the nonstop flights from Europe to Jakarta weren’t profitable. Therefore I understand their desire to operate a smaller plane, and that requires going via somewhere else, since they can’t fly nonstop from Bali or Jakarta.

However, by essentially introducing one-stop service between Europe and Bali/Jakarta, they no longer have any sort of competitive advantage over other airlines. Never mind the fact that premium travelers will go out of their way to avoid them on the A330-200, given that they have angled seats in business class.

What do you make of Garuda Indonesia’s new Medan strategy for Europe?

Comments
  1. “Puzzling”, is a very polite way of describing it.
    The frequency with which they change the schedule and routing, often at short notice, is enough to put most travellers off. Surely the traffic between Medan and Ams/Lon is almost negligible, so it makes no sense at all, in any way!

  2. @ SA — I believe some A330-300s have flat beds, but those show 1-2-1 seatmaps. These flights show 2-2-2 seatmaps, and I don’t think any 2-2-2 configurations on their A330s have flat beds? Someone correct me if I’m wrong…

  3. No one in their right mind is going to Medan ( unless it’s en route to Lake Toba) or anywhere else in N Sumatra. Garuda is going the way of Thai: massive losses, government interference, incompetent political appointees on the board, squeezed by the LCCs on their formerly ‘rivers of gold’ routes.
    It’s not going to end well.

  4. Actually I found the A330 seats quite comfortable and spacious. The slight angle isn’t impacting my sleep quality either.

  5. Ugh. Thank you for the clarification. I’m flying AMS-CGK-DPS (or was ), on 28th October, and I’m still trying to make sense of the email that Garuda sent me this morning.

  6. @Ben Holz, the link you posted says “angled flat” for the business seats. The same link shows some a330-300’s have reverse herring bone fully flat seats.

  7. Sounds like an important minister is from Medan. Reminds me of the Hambantota fiasco in Sri Lanka a few years ago.

  8. Since KLM is a partner airline I assume where possible they will rebook Jakarta bound passengers on that daily flight. KLM also flies daily to Bali

    KLM used to fly to Medan Surabaya and Palembang It makes sense from Amsterdam given the partnership to Jakarta

    It makes no sense from
    London

    I give it a few months

  9. @GuruJanitor weird… it appeared (and still does as lie-flat). Looked for pictures and it does seem like they are indeed angled. Oops

  10. No international traffic by GA from Medan too. At least if they have KUL-KNO and SIN-KNO flights, they can use cheaper fares to entice KUL n SIN based travelers.

    So it is strange indeed.

  11. @Ben Holz I get it, the top of the page says flat bed, but the description lower down says: “This aircraft features 36 angled flat Executive Class seats and 186 standard Economy Class seats.”

  12. Their schedule has yet to reflect this change. Look, I get it. You had a special loving relationship with them. I did, too. But sometimes people (in this case organisations) change for reasons that are unclear. Sometimes the change is too much and you just have to let go. I already have, so maybe it’s time you move on from them, too. There’s no hope for improvement as long as govt interference remains strong.

  13. So there is no more long haul first class routes with them, right? I wanted to test their first class, but don’t want to do so on a 5-hour flight.

  14. Perhaps Garuda is feeling the pressure from Emirates? But why wouldn’t they just downgrade to the a330 with the same frequency then have such a drastic reduction in service?

    Something doesn’t seem right.

  15. All Garuda A330-200 features 2-2-2 flatbed business class, while most A330-300 has the same products as A330-200, there are 4 newest A330-300 with Super Diamond business class. The A330-900 probably will have similiar product, if not the same as the newer A330-300s

  16. I’d say this makes sense. It’s a leisure route and if they aren’t able to fill their 777 then they’ll clearly lose money. The 330 is premium light as well so if they can fill both cabins, it’s a win for them.

  17. Jamie,

    Wasn’t Garuda thinking of resuming flights to the US?

    Maybe they want 777-300 ER’s for that?

    Otherwise I agree it’s weird. You put your best planes on your flagship routes.

  18. Medan is a quick connection to many Malaysian and Indonesian airports without the headache of connecting in KUL or CGK. Local people would see this as preferable. Of course passengers mostly care about price. If operations in Medan are cheaper and they can lower prices, they may profit.

  19. @lucky I work as a pilot in Garuda Indonesia, I know that even with a 393 seater 777, the CGK-AMS route has always been profitable. The main reason Garuda shifts its CGK-AMS route into DPS-KNO-AMS is because of the CEO Ari Askhara.

    Firstly, Askhara owns a company based in Medan, so he shifts the route in order to use the plane to transport goods easier from Europe to Medan without having to pass the strict customs in Jakarta.

    Secondly, Askhara is Balinese and he has a mistress named Puteri, she is a Garuda Indonesia flight attendant based in Bali, so after the Amsterdam route shifts from Bali, the crew based in Bali will operate this route. (Also the DPS-KNO-LHR route has been operated by the Bali based crew)

    Most of the employees in Garuda Indonesia dislike him, cause he is destroying the airline with his illogical and corrupt decisions.

    Everyone deserves to know the truth and I hope this could answer your confusion.

  20. I flew on a 330 CGK-MEL in 2017 and the cabin was configured 2-2-2 with all lay flat seats. Garuda were incredible both in service, seat comfort and food. i wouldn’t hesitate flying with them. I just wish they would operate to Bali direct from Europe.

  21. Well If GA not using for Europe flights, then resume your USA flights ( LAX and NYC ) 3X weekly to start using 777…
    It’s been postponed many times, I thought FAA already gave clearance to GA for flying to USA?!.
    I honestly dont know what GA management is doing or waiting for ???

  22. Honestly , GARUDA IS SUCH GREAT AIRLINE , but Unfortunately the inside people who run the GA Management dont know what they are doing since they like to keep changing GA CEO . Strangely and sadly all GA CEO have different ways of working and among each other CEO dont follow up what WAS THE GOAL OR PURPOSES of former bosses or CEO’s achievements!!!
    For example: CEO ARIF or BUDI already planned to resume GA to LAX but then this CEO from BANK MANDIRI who took over thinks all the way around by cutting benefits and so on…
    Now this new CEO AKshara , I dont know what he is doing ,
    Seems like all GA CEOS and GA management have issues …
    Today is good news tomorrow is bad news!!!
    It’s just puzzling….

    Hopefully someday GA management can really get back on track and fly back to LAX!!

  23. well said like what @GA said, its not a secret that the CEO will do everything for his mistress
    Maybe this sould be blown up so everybody the truth..
    this a national company but he treat this like his own company without think for the lost and benefit.
    who’s gonna flight with a 1 stop if they know the reason the buy the expensive tickets for a non stop flight.

  24. OH MAN! If only I can tell you what did they do to us the employees! They make us work for more than 18 hours straight that is INSANE! 🙁 dear @GA, thanks for speaking up!

  25. @GA that is a serious accusation. Please speak to a trusted media outlet and blow the whistle. He needs to be removed. Make Garuda Great Again!

  26. I’ve just received notification that my Garuda flight from AMS on the 28th October has switched equipment…again.
    The 777-300 that became the A330-200, is now back to the 777-300.

    * on a side note, my two Thai flights later in October have also been switched. The 747 is now a 777, and the 787 is now an A330..

    Cheers.

  27. Sorry I sent the wrong one related to my previous comments on

    “https://onemileatatime.com/garuda-indonesia-amsterdam/#comment-4254718”

    The comment actually comes from someone’s previous story. But after I checked it turned out he was one of the Garuda pilot fired. Once again I apologize to Garuda Indonesia and GA Lover all.

  28. @Lucky as a loyal passenger of this airline, I don’t think personal matter could involved to the corporate policy level. There is a BoC that seated by competence people, those watch all of BoD movement and decision making. Changing the route for the airlines is not easy peasy issue, so I believed the decision based on mature strategic business before their suggest it to the public.

    And honestly, I quite impressed with current GA Management, you can ensure this company as good company by look at their stock portfolio. Obviously impressive!

  29. @GA Lovers you’ll never know until you step your feet in someone else shoes. guess this is the most suitable words to describe us, but i really appreciate your apology for your previous comments.

    we both know that airlines industries in all over the globe are currently facing their difficult times in terms of production cost efficiency as well as maximizing market needs. Perhaps, this is one of GA’s consideration.

  30. @GA Lovers If im not wrong, the local government itself also need huge support from GA as the flag carrier to promote national tourism especially in medan and denpasar. Back in the 90’s, medan and denpasar was a huge route which connecting Indonesia with some of the main destinations in Europe.

    No offense. this is just my personal opinion though coz I often see that we tend to mock someone’s effort instead supporting him/her first without knowing the truth.

    Looking back in the last quarter in 2019, Garuda Indonesia showing promising financial and operational performance. So we can assume that the airlines actually now on the right track.

  31. @Lucky One of my friend who works in Garuda once told me that the current route unexpectedly is profitable comparing with previous direct flight Jakarta – Amsterdam. Maybe it is because Garuda changed aircraft size which from B777 to A332. The smaller it is the more efficient for airline.

    Surprisingly, demand from Denpasar as one of international hub & spoke in Indonesia is quite high. Thus, I guess Garuda decided to take this opportunity to improve their market size.

  32. Op 8/2 19 een vlucht geboekt voor 2 personen bij Garuda Indonesia: Amsterdam-Jakarta en tevens de terugvlucht Jakarta-Amsterdam. Dit wordt per mail eenzijdig veranderd op 27/9 in Jakarta-Denpasar-Amsterdam.
    Stoelen met extra beenruimte en naast elkaar geboekt, ook voor 2 vrienden die met ons terugreizen. Bij verandering geen stoelnummers meer. Moet er zelf achteraan om dit in orde te krijgen. Hun oplossing: Stoelen op rij 50 met extra beenruimte en die vrienden op rij 51 zonder extra beenruimte. Wat een slechte oplossing! Nee, met Garuda Indonesia wordt voortaan niet meer gevlogen. En een aanbeveling zullen zij van ons niet meer krijgen. Ben heel benieuwd hoe men dit gaat compenseren?

  33. Garuda is insane. In the air? Great. On the ground? It’s as though they make every attempt to sabotage your travels. Here is the latest. I booked a return business class trip from LHR to DPS (12 Oct to 24 Oct) and am presently sitting in my hotel with a week left of my holiday. I get an email this morning saying that my flight has been changed from DPS to AMS?! Perplexed and a little panicked, I call their call centre which tells me the LHR route has been cancelled for operational reasons. So they can’t even tell me details of how or what airline or what class they’ll use to transfer me from Amsterdam to London, or when I might arrive. The best they will offer is a refund of the unused leg, which is about one third of what it will cost me to re-book on another airline for a flight back to LHR on business. When asked to escalate, I get their trademark, “Sorry, we cannot do that. Please send your complaint to…” Pulling my hair out after being entirely relaxed in Ubud. What a horror show of an airline!

  34. just flew back to amsterdam business class via medan, we had 50 minutes to change planes from jakarta, all lounges closed, clueless airport staff as to which gate . non existing “drinklist” on board, only a bottle of whiskey, on my flight to jakarta they had a botle if baileys. it was in a triple 7 flat bed though. although i loved garuda , (fly 7 times a year amsterdam jakarta) for that kind of money with a stopover i rather fly turkish or emirates (my next flight is tomorrow) they are even 400€ cheaper on this particular date

  35. I visited Garuda Indonesia Training Center (GITC) and I saw few Stelia Opal seats for crew training purposes. I guess GA is using Stelia Opal for the brand new A330neo.

  36. CGK – AMS direct flight was its competitive advantage. Service cannot make up for it. Price is non competitive for some time now. all that is gone. The reduction in frequency smacks of a non profitable route.( has always been I was told). Neo might bring solas, but takes time to deliver. I am flying AMS-CGK (Halim and Kemayoran) sinds 1968. They came a long way turning it around from cattle service 6 stop, 1 overnight stop in BKK to a 5 star skytrack pearl,
    but it seems they need the Indonesian inconsistency to go vintage again. My 4 business class tickets per year Qatar just gained. We will see…..

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