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Garuda Curtailing Flights to Selected Destinations

National Flag Carrier Forced to End or Alter Flight Schedules to Some Destinations Due to Low Passenger Demand and High Fuel Costs

Due to a nationwide decline in people booking flights, the national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has withdrawn flights to a number of domestic ports-of-call, placing tourism development in the affected destinations at risk. As reported by Tempo.co, Garuda has ended flights to, among others, Batam, Jambi, and North Sulawesi.

By way of a partial apology for canceled flights, Bambang Adisurya Angkasa, director of operations for the National Flag Carrier, said during Meeting with Commission V of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) on Monday, November 25, 2019: "We have a heavy burden. As a state-owned company, Garuda is not only seeking profit."

While Garuda Indonesia bears a responsibility to serve remote areas of the Indonesian Republic, it is often unable to sustain flight service to some destinations without cross-subsidies from regional governments. Citing one example of such regional government support, Adisurya mentioned flights between Jakarta and Nias, saying: "Nias Regent gives us a guarantee and asked us to support local tourism. So now we need to consolidate with regents to make agreements and (sic) stakeholders."

Due to declining passenger revenues, Garuda Indonesia is also making adjustments in flight operated to Denpasar, Surabaya, and Balikpapan “in a bid to optimize services, boost the passenger capacity, and increase flight slots.”

The Indonesian Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi blamed the cessation of service on some Garuda routes and the high price of aviation fuel and low passenger loads on some routes. The Minister cited the following destinations as suffering from low passenger demand: “Manado, Naha, Melangguane, Mingas, Kao, and Marowali-Kendari.”

The Minister of Transportation will soon meet the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) to discuss how to make fuel more affordable for domestic airlines.

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