Garuda Indonesia’s Jakarta To London Flight Will Finally Fly Nonstop

Filed Under: Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia offers one of my favorite first class products in the world, and also has among the best cabin crew of any airline. Last year I had the chance to fly them in first class from London to Jakarta and back, thanks to a “Black Friday” sale that they had. They exceeded my (very high) expectations.

Fantastic Garuda Indonesia crew

At the time, their route from London to Jakarta operated via Singapore on the return, meaning that the rotation was Jakarta to Singapore to London to Jakarta. It’s my understanding that they operated the route this way because the plane wasn’t able to fly nonstop to London due to Jakarta’s runway. Specifically, the North runway had to be reinforced in order to allow larger aircraft to take off with a full payload. The construction was supposed to be done in 2018.

Well, Garuda Indonesia has just announced that their Jakarta to London route will be operating nonstop as of October 31, 2017. As of that point, the westbound flight will no longer stop in Singapore. At that point the flight will operate with the following schedule:

GA86 Jakarta to London departing 12:05PM arriving 8:00PM
GA85 London to Jakarta departing 9:55PM arriving 6:55PM (+1 day)

Jakarta, Indonesia

This should finally give Garuda Indonesia more of a competitive advantage in terms of serving many markets, as it will cut the westbound travel time by 3hr10min. They’ll be the only airline flying nonstop between the capitals of the UK and Indonesia. Equally importantly, they’ll finally be able to offer one stop service to many other destinations, rather than requiring passengers to make two stops on the westbound flight.

Garuda Indonesia’s flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam will continue to operate via Singapore on certain days. The flight operates 6x weekly, and they’ll continue to operate it 3x weekly nonstop, and 3x weekly via Singapore. It seems like that’s a business decision rather than a limitation of the plane.

I’ve always found it interesting that up until now Garuda Indonesia could fly nonstop from Jakarta to Amsterdam, but not to London. I guess those last ~230 miles could make a difference as far as the payload goes.

In theory I could see the business case for operating the flight via Singapore, as it allows them to serve another market. However, Singapore to London is also a pretty crowded market, given that it’s operated by British Airways, Singapore Airlines, and soon Qantas will be reentering the market.

Now the real question is if/when Garuda Indonesia will follow through on their Jakarta to Los Angeles flight, which I’m sure many of us are excited about. They planned to start 3x weekly flights as of November, but the schedule hasn’t yet been loaded, and it has been a while since we’ve heard anything about it.

(Tip of the hat to @NIINIINIINIIN)

  1. Last November, Singapore Airlines had to defer their planned SIN-CGK-SYD route due to runway maintenance ( Another SIN-CGK (SQ962) and the corresponding SQ963 also had to be cut back from daily to twice a week due to this too.

    This was strange as the flights cut weren’t within the maintenance timings but were at
    (1) 1710h – arrival into CGK of SQ962 (SIN-CGK)
    (2) 1800h – departure from CGK of SQ963 (CGK-SIN)
    (3) 2100h – arrival into CGK of the proposed SQ261 (SIN-CGK)
    (4) 2225h – departure from CGK of the proposed SQ261 (CGK-SYD)
    (5) 1100h – arrival into CGK of the proposed SQ262 (SYD-CGK)
    (6) 1535h – departure from CGK of the proposed SQ262 (CGK-SIN)

    That these particular flights which potentially cut into flag carrier Garuda Indonesia’s revenue are the ones cut and that no other airlines’ flights at those timings were affected, seemed then (and now) of protectionism of the national flag carrier. It would seem that someone at the Indonesian civil aviation agency had given approval to the routes when they shouldn’t have and they used this as a reason two weeks from the launch of the routes to rectify that ( Protectionism isn’t new as SQ had previously been restricted from flying the B747 into Jakarta from the early 2000s and had to use the B777s and A330s instead.

    I wonder if with this completion of the runway works which is enabling GA to fly non-stop to London would mean that the Indonesian authorities would allow the resumption of the SQ flights.

  2. CGK-LAX nonstop would be a good 8986 mi, barely shorter than DOH-AKL (9,032) and PER-LHR (9,010) but longer than LAX-SIN (8,770).

    If GA can actually make it commercially work viably, more power to them, but I feel that it might be another vanity route.

    For reference, CGK-LHR is a lottttttttt shorter at 7,284.

  3. @henry LAX,

    GA has never planned to operate LAX-CGK nonstop. They plan to make it a one-stop flight via NRT, presumably with pick-up rights.

  4. Was thinking about when LAX wod start, if at all. I would certainly use it vs. a Singapore 2-stop, and of timing works, even better than Cathay or China or Eva one-stops

  5. For one stop service via Jakarta, Garuda has been planning for service to Moscow from 2018 with their A330. For more service they basically need more aircraft, they has been placed order for 14 A330neo in London. For more aircraft they actually has been signed LOI for 30 A350 and 30 787 in Paris airshow 2015

  6. For one stop service via Jakarta, Garuda has been planning a route to Moscow start in 2018 with their A330. For more routes Garuda actually need more airplanes, they have signed a purchase for 14 A330neo in 2015. For more airplane they actually have signed a LOI for 30 A350 and 30 787 in Paris Airshow 2015

  7. This change to nonstop in the outbound flight from CGK to LHR comes amidst consistently (and dangerously) low load factors on the SIN-LHR and LHR-CGK legs during off-peak times. The original plan was to reduce the CGK-SIN-LHR-CGK frequency down to two weekly, as per, but instead they decided to ditch the SIN stop and keep three frequencies per week. Would definitely be so much more advantageous to Garuda compared to a SIN stop where Garuda faces heavy headwinds from the competition.

    Additionally, given Garuda’s current bleak financial situation (despite deep and extensive cost cutting efforts ongoing), the Garuda administration has shelved plans (and withdrew its FAA request) for flights to LAX. Garuda had also previously disclosed plans to launch nonstop Moscow flights by August which… never materialized. Garuda will for now focus on domestic and regional route development, while new long haul routes will now be put on hold until at least 2019, when Garuda takes delivery of their first A330neo.

  8. @Melvsim
    Well based on your statement of singapore airlines With route SIN-CGK-SYD it was defer/postpone that route is because of the Runway. The runway wasn’t strong enough to have a lot of fuel to take off from the jakarta’s runway so CGK upgrade it’s runway capacity so it could fly some plane with heavyweight capacity. In this case garuda can fly nonstop to London is because the runway already been upgraded so it can stand for heavyweight aircraft.

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