Garuda Indonesia, the airline of Indonesia reconnected with India on 12 December by flying flight GA862 from Jakarta to Mumbai via Bangkok. It’s a tri weekly service on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays has returned after 18 years break. ‘Garuda’ is the name of the mythological bird that serves as the carrier to Hindu god Lord Vishnu.Mr M Arif Wibowo, President and CEO, Garuda Indonesia, said at the launch press conference: “We are pleased to connect to Mumbai, ninth most populous agglomeration in the world. We place great belief that the opening of our services will forge a solid bridge in enhancing the future partnership between India and Indonesia, two of Asia’s new economic powerhouses. We hope to make it a daily flight in the coming months.”
300,000 people travel from India to Indonesia every year with Bali being the popular, attracting 40 percent arrivals. MICE segment has grown prominently since two years. 5000 Indians incentive travellers visited Indonesia in 2015. Ministry of tourism is planning to allocate separate budget for incentivising MICE in 2017. Wedding and honeymoon traffic is also growing along with spa and eco-tourism trips.
Indonesia is developing 10 new destinations since this year to increase tourism to other beautiful destinations beyond Bali. The Government is creating basic infrastructure and is inviting foreign investments into airports and other infrastructure. Fostering more air connectivity and relationships with tour operators, going digital and developing home stays at the 10 destinations are emphasised.
Garuda Indonesia connects to 77 worldwide destinations, has more than 600 daily flights and a fleet of 197 aircraft with an average age of 5 years.
Jakarta-Mumbai flight is served by Boeing 738 aircraft with 162 passengers in two class configuration and is expected to boost traffic from India to 1 million in 2017. Garuda flight connections to other Indian cities are in the offing and a target of 1.8 million Indian visitors is expected in Indonesia in two year’s time.
Written by Anand & Madhura Katti