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Garuda Indonesia to start India operations in 2014

In an interaction at the recently concluded TraveRave 2013 in Singapore, T3  spoke to  Emirsyah Satar, Chief Executive Officer, Garuda Indonesia on his plans for the Indian market. Satar is of the opinion that the Indian aviation industry has huge potential which has not been tapped to the fullest and it is due for a much needed revamp. “India's tourism industry is massive and as each day passes it is mounting rapidly. Indian outbound into Indonesia has seen a significant growth over the past five years and there has been a steady flow of Indian leisure and business travellers between India and Indonesia. It is very important for us to have a presence in this market,” he said.

He further revealed that the airline plans to start flights between India and Indonesia by the second half of 2013. “We have been analysing the Indian market over the past few years and are currently looking at operations from Delhi and Mumbai. We have also conducted a study to understand the market, which is now at its final stage. We expect to take a concrete decision on the Indian market by the end of this year.”

Elaborating on the airline’s plans for the region, Satar opined, “We are very excited to start flying out of India and want to commence operations as soon as possible. Currently, we are waiting for all the government clearances and paper work to get done. Once we have a green signal on all the nitty gritties, we will make the official announcement.”

Garuda Indonesia has also appointed a GSA, Bird Group, effective August 2013, as its local representative in India to manage its marketing and sales activities, marking the airline’s first step in developing its network in the market, “This reiterates our interest and commitment to the Indian market. We are very optimistic that, with Bird Group on board, it will give us a leverage to strengthen our presence in India and enhance the quality of our services to better serve passengers between the two markets. Moving forward, Bird Group will be responsible for all sales, marketing and ticketing activities in India through its centrally located headquarters in New Delhi,” he added.

Speaking about the promotional and marketing strategies for the region, Satar said, “Six months prior to launching flights out of India, we plan to hold workshops to educate the travel trade and help them understand our business to sell better. We are also looking at participating in trade events and travel expos within Asia, particularly in India, to create a buzz among the travel industry.”

In a recent bid to achieve significant increase in Indian visitors to Indonesia, the airline has signed a codeshare agreement with Jet Airways, starting from travel effective 4 October 2013.Under the codeshare arrangement, Jet Airways will place its marketing code on Garuda Indonesia’s flights between Singapore and Jakarta. In turn, Garuda will place its marketing code on Jet Airways’ operations between Singapore and Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. The codeshare will provide more choice for customers between India and Indonesia, by offering seamless and convenient connections over the international gateway of Singapore. “Indonesia is a famous tourist destination for Indian travellers and a strategic trade and investment partner for India. With the codeshare, we are positive that will see a boost in business and leisure travel between India and Indonesia,” Satar concluded.

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