Garuda Indonesia will address the concern within the travel industry over the prevailing high domestic airfares, as part of its support for the tourism sector.
Speaking at his inaugural press conference in Jakarta last weekend, Garuda’s new president and CEO Irfan Setiaputra said: “We will review our airfares to reach reasonable prices… although we cannot go cheap (and) compromise on safety. We will find a way to make passengers happy yet (allowing) Garuda (to remain) profitable.”
Irfan said he was ready to collaborate with tourism stakeholders as part of Garuda Indonesia’s commitment to support tourism industry.
“Garuda will also work closely with the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, while designing the right formula in order to realise the president’s wishes to advance the tourism and business event industries. Garuda will have to be the spearhead of tourism,” he added.
However, Budijanto Ardiansyah, vice president of the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies, said rather than reduce airfares, the airline should reopen subclasses to give customers a variety of choices.
Pauline Suharno, secretary general of The Indonesian Travel Agents Association, suggested that the airline open new routes connecting destinations in Indonesia with the rest of the world, for example, linking Bangkok to the Indonesian cities of Yogyakart and Surabaya.
“If Garuda wants to support tourism, it should not only open popular routes or add flights on (overcrowded) routes, but open a route in a destination that cannot be reached by (foreign) tourists. The main problem (impinging on) Indonesian tourism is connectivity, so we hope Garuda can be a solution,” Pauline said.
She added that Garuda should work towards improving the quality of their services, starting with their in-flight meals. “Garuda’s catering service has declined recently, especially for domestic flights. With the high ticket price, passengers are only served rice boxes, sometimes, even bread and snacks,” she said.