National carrier Garuda Indonesia has been elected best airline in Asia and Australasia, beating established regional heavyweights Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines in the 2013 Passenger Choice Awards.
“Thanks to the strong commitment of management and employees in giving the best service, Garuda’s performance is being gradually acknowledged at an international level,” Garuda Indonesia’s president director Emirsyah Satar said in a statement on Wednesday. “This encourages Garuda to continue the Quantum Leap 2011-2015 program, in which the Garuda Group will be a five-star airline and operate 194 aircraft by 2015.”
The carrier currently operates a fleet of 124 planes.
The New York–based Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) ran the Anaheim, California event.
Garuda came out on top of five other finalists: Singapore Airlines, Qantas Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand and Pakistan Airlines.
Passengerchoiceawards.com ran the online survey, and the Nielsen Company, a leading global survey institution, tabulated it.
Garuda was also chosen in the Top 5 Best Overall Passenger Experience category, together with Emirates, Etihad Airways, Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic; in the Top 5 Best Ground Experience category, along with Avianca, Delta Airlines, El Al Israel Airlines and Virgin America, Avianca and El Al Israel Airlines; and in the Top 5 Best Inflight Publication category, along with Avianca, Ethiopian Airlines, Gulf Air, and Taca International Airlines.
This latest accolade followed Garuda’s inclusion in the World’s Top 10 Airlines by Skytrax.
Garuda booked $1.73 billion in operational revenue in the first semester of 2013, up 14.1 percent from to the same period last year.
The increase was near-commensurate with the rise in the number of passengers Garuda Indonesia and its low-cost offshoot Citilink could accommodate. They issued a combined 11.9 million tickets in H1, 2013, a 23.96 percent increase from the first semester of 2012. Cargo transport also increased from 132.06 tons in the first half of 2012 to 172.26 tons this year.
Gerry Soejatman, an aviation analyst, said the award and recognitions indicated the airline’s progress, but that it still had much to do in order to realize its ambitions.
“This means the airline must keep developing to maintain its position,” he said, adding that Garuda needed to offer more flights to Europe.(Jakarta Globe)