Sunday, October 24, 2010

Garuda named best in SE Asia, ahead of Singapore Airlines

A recent survey by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has ranked the national airline of Indonesia, Garuda, the best carrier in Southeast Asia for service quality. The Southeast Asia survey measured several criteria including passenger comfort, food, on-board and ground services, and passengers’ perceived value in flying with the airline. The results put Garuda ahead of fierce competitors including Singapore Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways, and Malaysian Airlines.

News of the survey results highlights a stunning turnaround for Indonesia’s national carrier. Over the last five years, the airline’s CEO Emirsyah (Emir) Satar, has led a steady march toward dramatic improvements turning a negative cash flow into huge profits. Emir has been highly successful in modernizing the fleet, improving on-time performance, and increasing both load factor and aircraft utilization rates. But even more importantly, Emir has also managed to dramatically improve the airline’s safety record as evidenced by its International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit certification and the fact that the European Union lifted its ban on Indonesia flights to Europe last year. As a result of the successful restructuring of the airline’s financial and operational procedures, Emir believes it may be possible for the carrier to go public sometime next year.

With the growth of many low-cost carriers in the Southeast Asia market, competition has become keen for the travel dollar. To meet the challenge, Garuda has introduced creative new services including “Immigration on Board,” which allows passengers to complete immigration before they land and avoid long lines on arrival. The service is now available on flights from Amsterdam, Seoul, and Japan. Being singled out as the leader in service quality is an important achievement for the airline and helps further the airline’s quality and reliability perception in the marketplace.

Related: Garuda tops Asian airlines service quality survey

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