Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has made its triumphant return to Europe after a six year break, which included a two-year ban over safety fears.
An Airbus 330-200 aircraft took off from Jakarta at 01:40 GMT yesterday bound for Amsterdam via Dubai.
The Amsterdam connection is the first Garuda flight to Europe since late 2004 and comes less than a year after European Union regulators cleared the airline to fly in EU airspace again.
“Amsterdam is the first of several major European destinations which Garuda Indonesia intends to add to its fast-growing network over the next four years.
“The other potential destinations include; Frankfurt, London, Paris and Rome,” Bagus Y. Siregar Senior General Manager Australia/SWP, Garuda Indonesia told e-Travel Blackboard.
Siregar said Amsterdam was the “obvious choice” as its first destination in Europe given Indonesia’s strong historical ties with the Netherlands.
Commenting on the airline’s big ‘comeback’, Siregar said the airline was expanding its fleet and adding more routes ahead of a planned initial public offering later this year.
“Throughout 2010 Garuda Indonesia will be receiving 23 Boeing 737-800 Next Generation and one A330-200 aircraft.
One of Asia’s most successful carriers through the GFC, Garuda Indonesia was voted by SkyTrax as the ‘World’s Most Improved Airline’.
The airline has also developed a new service concept – including new uniforms and in-flight menus – and it has strengthened its operational safety procedures, which has included an extensive pilot training program.
Siregar concluded, “As travellers hear about these achievements and experience the new Garuda Indonesia we have no doubt that public perceptions will increasingly align with Garuda’s ambition to become one of Asia’s most successful and profitable airlines.”