Garuda Indonesia Cutting Europe Flights (Again)

Filed Under: Garuda Indonesia

Oh Garuda Indonesia…

Garuda Indonesia doesn’t have it easy

Before I get into the actual substance of what’s happening here, let me acknowledge that Garuda Indonesia doesn’t have it easy:

  • Ultra low cost carriers are gaining a ton of market share in Indonesia, making it tough for airlines like Garuda Indonesia to compete
  • Garuda Indonesia has been through a few management teams in the past several years, and each seems to have a different strategy, meaning that they don’t follow through on anything long enough for it to actually work
  • Aviation is highly political in Indonesia, and Indonesia’s president even requested that the airline lower fares, making it tough for them to actually price in a way that maximizes their profits

Garuda Indonesia 737

Garuda Indonesia will greatly reduce Europe flying

It’s being reported that after the summer 2019 season:

  • Garuda Indonesia will cancel their London route altogether
  • Garuda Indonesia will reduce their Amsterdam flights from 6x weekly to 3x weekly

Those are their only two European routes, so suffice to say that the airline is hugely reducing their long haul network here.

Garuda Indonesia has operated their Amsterdam route consistently, though just for some context on their London route over the past five years:

  • In 2014 Garuda Indonesia relaunched flights to London Gatwick, following the route being suspended for many years; they operated this route via Amsterdam, as a fifth freedom flight
  • In 2015 Garuda Indonesia switched this flight from London Gatwick to London Heathrow, after securing a slot there
  • The flight then operated via Singapore, until 2017, when the flight started being operated nonstop in the eastbound direction
  • In October 2018 the airline suspended the London route altogether
  • Then the airline announced that they’d relaunch nonstop flights between Jakarta and London as of November 2018, using a 777
  • Then the airline announced that they’d actually operate the route via Singapore in both directions, using an A330
  • Since January 2019, the airline is operating a triangle route, from Jakarta to London to Bali to Jakarta

And now the route will be cut again…

Garuda Indonesia’s 777 business class

Bottom line

Garuda Indonesia offers a good onboard product, with some of the best crews out there. It’s sad to see how poorly the airline is being run, though.

It’s not that I’m saying that London should be a profitable route for them and they need to operate it, but what I am saying is that it takes a consistent effort to build up a route. Modifying and canceling the same route over and over is one way to be sure that it won’t be a success.

It appears as if the airline will cancel flights to London and halve flights to Amsterdam after summer, though like everything at Garuda Indonesia, I imagine this has the potential to change (and then change again, and again, and again).

(Tip of the hat to PinterPoin)

Comments
  1. @Aaron

    There surely is. I have been a few times on GA to AMS and flights were full. Same for KLM.
    However, TK, EK, QR and esp Oman offer much lower rates nowadays so I guess people vote with the wallet.

  2. @lucky : “Modifying and canceling the same route over and over is one way to be sure that it won’t be a success.”

    tell that to blind DL loyalists who remind us how every single attempt of SEA-KIX would be soooooooooooooo different from before

  3. Garuda has never been great, rarely good, frequently very ordinary at best, dreadful at worst. GARUDA (= Good and Reliable Under Dutch Administration , how Indonesians described it).
    For some bizarre reason known only to themselves, possibly as a consequence of risible SKYTRAX ratings, they decide that they should charge a massive premium over virtually every other carrier ( including SQ, QR, EK, JAL, ANA). Insane, and so unsurprising that it’s been a mega flop.
    Garuda has improved in recent years. It’s a 3 star airline, in the style of Philippine Airlines or Vietnam Airlines.Their place in the market should be ‘cheap and cheerful’, with a longer term aspirational higher status.
    When looking at J fares: Aus-Europe, Asia-Europe or intra-Asia, Garuda just never registers as a choice in the first 20 returns. If the fares were reasonable, I would fly with them.

  4. The problem is all the rich indonesian would prefer to make a stopover in singapore rather fly nonstop to europe.

  5. Lucky,I’m just curious.Is this true if an airline got best service best carte best seats then they will get poor profit?

  6. My SQ flights to/from Jakarta have always been full and my JKT-NRT flights on NH always had decent loads so there is definitely travel demand on full service airlines.

  7. Sad indeed. My brother lives in Jakarta and I live in London. I was already bummed that they decided to do a triangle route, but cancelling it altogether.. what shocked me was that they’re halving Amsterdam flights. They were consistently full in my experience. Now they’re going to have how many 777s laying on the ground, not making money? Can they sell it to other airlines, for example Swiss or Emirates? It’s really sad. Guess it’s back to QR/SQ for me

  8. Don’t be surprised to see 777s redeployed to Bali – Australia routes. Massive demand for flights but nearly every operator has narrow bodies – 737s or A320s including Qantas and Virgin. Most are budget carriers and 6 hours in narrow bodies are not popular. Put a 777 on the routes with sim8lar fares and it will be popular!
    Is this change after Northern Summer or Southern summer? Northern Summer means around September which is when Australian spring and summer start. Most popular time for Aussies to travel is January!

  9. There is a problem in the Indonesian aviation. Indonesian aviation market has 3 players: the lion group, garuda group and airasia group. The lion group and garuda group are behemoths compared to airasia group.

    Airasia group was pushed out of the 2 largest 2 OTAs without a good reason, with rumors spiralling that the lion and garuda group being the reason why.

    Lion and Garuda group raised their prices significantly since early 2019. In Garuda’s case they get rid of all non Y-class fares in Economy, effectively raising ticket prices by as much as 200% if not more. In Lion’s case, besides raising prices they also institute an absurdly expensive paid luggage policy (there are 6 pages, each route is charged differently). The luggage policy is also not charged per leg, but instead per flight trip (eg. SUB to KNO flight with transit in CGK will get you charged from SUB to CGK and CGK to KNO). It is now cheaper to fly internationally than domestic!

    All of these factors massively damages the domestic tourism and hotel industry which has been built after the wonderful Indonesia tourism campaign. Not to mention the taxis, airport restaurants and many others. This is why the government had to start reducing the ticket prices, which I think still won’t help. People are looking for discounted fares, not 10-20usd ticket price reduction. Garuda has a hard time filling their planes with Y class only economy fares.

  10. @Ray

    Actually it’s not so shocking after all, if GA is gonna keep only one route to Europe, that would be AMS/CDG (and they did), given that they are part of the Skyteam alliance.

  11. My prediction:

    LAX station will never re-open as GARUDA management keep announcing it would re open this SEPTEMBER 2019 after many times of Pending statements, Its all fake news to say something like that.
    So sad that Garuda , such good airline for Indonesia cant even fly to LAX , shameful!
    Look at Philipine Airlines , they are not even in any alliance , they fly daily.
    Singapore can fly their own airline to LAX daily , Singapore is a very small country. GARUDA Indonesia should be the one who should give good example .
    Indonesia is such big country in South East Asia .
    Come on Garuda Indonesia , Dont Dissapoint your people in overseas !!!
    You are our Proud Airline as Indonesian !

  12. “Michael Ericlson”, lol. Dari mana?

    You’re right, Indonesia should be a good example. If it implemented meritocracy, pragmatism and honesty, it could be. Ala Singapore.

    @jkjkjk: Absolutely right. And a dramatic majority fly choose to fly with Singapore Airlines.

    @Steve: Absolutely right. It was unfair competition that had AirAsia inventory disappearing from Traveloka in February. As a result, AirAsia is eyeing the OTA business. Traveloka has 22M users a month. AirAsia has 65M. Indonesia is plagued by the mafia-mindset. Amusing to see how often it backfires.

    Garuda + T3 < Qatar + T2

  13. I still believe in Garuda Indonesia that in the future, GA will improve its management and operations! I also believe Garuda can compete with other asian carriers, including with SQ….

    Garuda Indonesia it has best crew (Sangat Ramah Tamah) , provide best service on board , truly care about their passengers need , they (aircrew/ ground staff) even willing to help and go beyond help. Fast service on the ground , excellent service and professional handling !
    Garuda Indonesia really should be great example!

    Its True, SQ is the best airline , that’s a fact!

    But someday in the near future , other airlines can definetely catch up and compete with SQ…even maybe be on top of SQ ! (Who knows)

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