Tickets for Garuda-Indonesia’s London-Jakarta service have gone on sale this week, Executive VP of marketing and sales, Erik Meijer, told Routes News.
The first flight is due to take off on May 29, 2014, with brand new Boeing 777-300 aircraft delivered earlier that month.
“It’s actually a London-Jakarta-Sydney flight,” said Meijer.
The service takes up one of Gatwick’s morning slots. It will initially operate three times a week, rising to five weekly flights by October.
Eventually, the carrier hopes to add a second aircraft to the service.
“We were supposed to launch the first flight this week,” continued Meijer. “However, a few months back, the Jakarta airport authorities had doubts about whether they could handle a fully-loaded 777 on the runway.”
He added: “We could have commenced the flights, but it meant without a full payload – no cargo and 40 to 50 fewer passengers – which means it wouldn’t be profitable for us.”
Another option was to have a stopover at another airport. Meijer explained: “We didn’t want to do that because the whole competitiveness of this flight is that it’s a direct route.”
The authorities carried out studies and updated their runway infrastructure, and have now given clearance for the carrier to operate the route with a full payload.
Despite the delay, Garuda Indonesia is currently using the aircraft meant for the London service for operations to Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai.
The route will be the first direct flight between the UK and Indonesia, and will be the carrier’s longest flight by distance.
Meijer added: “This is only our second destination in Europe after Amsterdam, but that flight still stops over in Abu Dhabi.
“This is the first time that we are really putting the 777 to the test on long flights. We really want to do it right this time.” (RoutesOnline)