Garuda off EU blacklist announces expansion

NATIONAL flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia, along with four others, has been taken off the European safety blacklist. Garuda, Airfast, Mandala and Premiair will once again be allowed to fly to Europe after making air safety improvements.

“Significant improvements and accomplishments of the Indonesian civil aviation authority are recognised in the area of safety,” the European Union said in a statement. “Four air carriers – Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Mandala Airlines and Premiair – can be taken off the list, because their authority ensures that they respect the international safety standards.”

All Indonesian-registered aircraft were banned from EU airspace in June 2007 following a report from the International Civil Aviation Organization which criticised the country’s safety standards.

Following the news, Garuda’s chief executive officer, Emirsyah Satar, announced that it would immediately start an aggressive expansion plan, called ‘Quantum Leap’, that would result in the airline doubling in size and increasing its number of routes by 50 per cent within five years.

“Indonesia’s fleet, which now consists of 62 aircraft, will grow to 116 aircraft by 2014,” he said adding that it had already taken delivery of three new aircraft and would order more Boeing 777s, 737s and Airbus A330-200s. Routes would be increased from 41 to 62. Although the external situation is less supportive because of the global financial crisis and increasing competition, Garuda will continue its development programmes prudently.”

The new routes are as yet unspecified but the company has said that the Netherlands, Frankfurt and London are likely.

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