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Garuda flight cutbacks raise concern JAKARTA - Garuda Indonesia's bid to halt its flights to Amsterdam and cut back on the number of flights to Guangzhou has raised concerns about the health of the national airline. The Amsterdam service has sentimental and historic value as it is one of Garuda's earliest overseas destinations. On the other hand, Guangzhou is one of China's most dynamic industrial centres and many wealthy Chinese-Indonesians whose ancestors came from the area have returned as investors.
Most of Garuda's woes have to do with increasing competition, the airline's declining attractiveness and cash-flow difficulties. The new management group, expected to be installed this week, will have to settle an EUR625 million (US$800 million) debt. Garuda embarked on a huge debt restructuring programme in 2001 to escape a debt trap. But the Sars outbreak, the war in Iraq and terrorism fears added to its woes. The repayment of debt is in fact causing cash-flow problems.
Results were disappointing last year. The company posted 238.7 billion rupiah (EUR 20,8 million) in pre-tax profit last year, a sharp drop from the 1 trillion rupiah it booked the previous year. Garuda spokesman Pujobroto insisted that the move to suspend some overseas flights was part of a regular schedule rotation.
Industry experts believe otherwise. Airline observer Dudi Sudibyo said Garuda needs a strong, well-consolidated management team led by a fully supportive leader. 'Furthermore, Garuda's new leader needs to come up with some bright ideas that could lift its name again in the international market.'



Posted in Garuda Indonesia @ 18 August 2004 00:03 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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