Jubi Prasetyo discusses Garuda Indonesia’s move to Heathrow and first direct London-Jakarta service. Here are our conversation with Jubi Prasetyo.
How will the combination of the move to Heathrow, first direct London-Jakarta service, and increased frequency, impact the airline?
This is a milestone for Garuda Indonesia in the UK as we have had ambitions to move to Heathrow Airport since we became a part of the Skyteam family in March 2014. This move will enable us to take full advantage of the benefits of being based in Europe’s busiest airport including connections to other global hubs and enhanced access to London and south east England. This all forms part of our strategy to strengthen our presence in Europe.
What pent-up demand is there for this service and how do you expect this to translate to sales and load factors?
In 2015, we saw an average load factor of 60% on the service from London. With the new service, we are aiming to increase that to 80%.
What passenger trends do you expect to see from a business and leisure perspective?
The outbound business travel market to Indonesia continues to grow in the UK. Indonesia is the third fastest growing economy in Asia and Jakarta is being recognized as a central hub for business in the region more and more. For the first time, business travelers will be able to travel to Jakarta without a stopover, a convenience this market is always welcoming of. We expect the new service to enhance the appeal for leisure travelers also, enabling them to connect to the islands of Indonesia with only one connection in Jakarta, cutting down the travel time and marking the journey that much smoother.
How will Garuda’s regional network add to the service’s appeal? i.e. those connecting to Jakarta to elsewhere?
Garuda Indonesia currently operates services to 60 domestic locations, and our network provides onward connections to dozens more overseas that travelers from the UK can take advantage of including Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia. Jakarta’s central location in Asia makes it a convenient onward stop for those travelling to a paradisiacal Indonesian island, another hub in the region or continuing onward on a global journey.
What onward/connecting destinations in Asia Pacific are you promoting in the UK market and why?
Bali continues to be a popular destination but for travelers wanting to travel somewhere different, will are also promoting Komodo Island for its untouched natural beauty, Lombok as a slice of paradise with white sand beaches and turquoise waters and Yogyakarta for those wanting to experience the arts and culture of the Javanese region. For those travelling beyond Indonesia, we have very competitive prices on our routes to Australia and we’re proud to be offering a ‘kangaroo route’ service.
What plans are there to up the frequency of the service in the future, based on current demand?
We have increased our frequency from three flights to five flights per week with the new LHR service and our future plans are to become a daily operation from Heathrow.
How will you work with the travel trade to promote this new service?
The Travel Trade are very important to us here at Garuda Indonesia. The Sales Team will be blitzing the UK meeting agents, offering training and attending events to increase the brand understanding and update the Travel Agents on the new service. On top of this will we will looking to implement FAM Trips, Agent Incentives, competitions and much more throughout 2016. Also not to forget, we have our Online Training Course at www.garudaindonesiatraining.co.uk where agents can learn about the product and the service.
What on-board products and services are you highlighting that compare favorably to competitors?
We are incredibly proud of our on board service, having won The World’s Best Cabin Crew from Skytrax in both 2014 and 2015, adding to the awards in 2013 for The World’s Best Economy Class and The World’s Best Economy Class Seats. We also received a gold medal for the Best First Class White at the Business Traveler ‘Cellars in the Sky’ awards in 2014.