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Garuda Indonesia (GA/GIA) is the national flag carrier of Indonesia. Founded on 28 January 1949 under the name Garuda Indonesian Airways, it is the first and oldest airline in Indonesia, wholly owned by the government of Republic of Indonesia. As a flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia lives up to the slogan “The Airline of Indonesia” with a symbol of Garuda bird from Hindu and Buddhist mythology. The 4-star airline prioritizes excellence in services and facilities.
In domestic routes, Garuda offers 2 travel classes: Executive and Economy. Passengers of Economy Class enjoy facilities like 31-inch seat pitch, checked baggage allowance up to 20 kg, cabin baggage up to 10 kg, hot meal (flights longer 1 hour) or snacks (flights less than 1 hour), drinks, onboard Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) with great selections of movies, music and also cheap flight tickets.
Passengers of Executive Class enjoy premium facilities and services like 38-inch seat pitch and footrest, welcome drink, hot meal and drink service, checked baggage up to 30 kg, cabin baggage up to 10 kg, and AVOD IFE with noise-cancelling headphones. In international routes (long-haul), Garuda Indonesia gives extra comfortable lie-flat bed. Garuda also provides Immigration on-Board (IoB) for foreigners visiting Indonesia, specifically for those landing on Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Jakarta or Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar - Bali.
Garuda Indonesia conducted a Quantum Leap program in 2010 through fleet and brand rejuvenation. As a result, Garuda Indonesia was rewarded as a 4-star airline by Skytrax, Skytrax World’s Best Regional Airline for 2012, and Skytrax World’s Most Improved Airline for 2011. Along with this, Garuda joined Skyteam, an international airline alliance together with AirFrance-KLM, Aeroflot and Korean Air.
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NV Garuda Indonesian Airways (GIA) was founded as a joint venture between the Indonesian government and the flag carrier of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (KLM). It initially operated in 1949 with a fleet of Douglas DC-3s and Consolidated PBY Catalinas handed down from Netherlands Government Air Transport (NGAT) and the Netherlands Air Force (ML-KNIL). After the transfer of sovereignty of Indonesia from the Kingdom of Netherlands on 27 December 1949, Garuda began to upgrade its fleet by adding new types such as the De Havilland Heron and Convair 340. By the year 1953, Garuda already owned 43 planes and served destinations throughout Indonesia and the region. Until 1969, Garuda is popularly known by its classic red and white Garuda logo. The red and white upper part of the windows resembles the national flag.
Prior to Garuda Indonesia, the country’s inaugural commercial flights was operated by Indonesian Airways’ DC-3 “Seulawah” on 26 January 1949 serving Calcutta-Rangoon as part of the Burmese government charter. A day after independence acknowledgment on 28 December 1949, DC-3 PK-DPD served the flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta in order to pick up President Soekarno, marking it as the inaugural flight of NV Garuda Indonesian Airways. In 1956, Garuda served the inaugural pilgrimage flight of haji to Mecca in Saudi Arabia using a Convair 340.
The 60s is an era in which Garuda had its potential development, marked with new modern fleet rejuvenation. In 1961, Garuda obtained turboprop Lockheed L-188 Electra, Convair CV990 serving Jakarta-Amsterdam, Douglas DC-8 replacing CV990 5 years later. The entire fleet of the 60s are: DC-3/C-47 Dakota, Convair 340, Convair 440, Lockheed L-188 Electra, Convair 990A, Fokker F-27 and DC-8.
In the beginning of Orde Baru era, Garuda went through a modernization. The year 1971 was the year of Fokker F28, in which Garuda operated its first F28-1000 PK-GJZ. Brand and logo rejuvenation campaign was executed. The new modern logotype “garuda” bears the brand name Garuda Indonesian Airways. This modern livery was updated in the 1970s with a touch of orange, known as “hockey stick” livery on the aircraft body. This logo lasted until 1985.
The golden era of Garuda in the 80s was marked by the delivery of Boeing 747-200. In 1982 under the guidance of the maestro Wiweko Soepono, Garuda introduced “Wiweko cockpit”, or Forward Facing Crew Cockpit initially implemented in Airbus A300B4. Two years later, Garuda had been operating Boeing 747-200, DC-10, Airbus A300B4, DC-9 and F28. Garuda’s 36 units of F-28s makes Garuda Indonesia the world’s largest F28 operator. In 1985, Garuda’s orange logo was replaced by a modern logo of typography “Garuda Indonesia”, dominated by Indonesia’s nature colour blue and green.
In 1994, Garuda purchased the world’s widest body plane in the 90s, Boeing 747-400, went through the regeneration of Fokker F28 and DC9 by substituting them with Boeing 737 Classic (-300, -400, and -500). In the beginning of the 90s, Garuda developed its strategy in a long-term to welcome the Millenium, including the fares concept. Garuda offer premium service with competitive prices, because they succeed creating an effective cost strategy, in order to decrease any unnecessary costs which benefited consumers in Indonesia through the cheap fares and promo offer in certain periods. In 1998, Garuda suffered from monetary crisis. In 2005, Garuda's management was restructured. It then became one of the 30 largest airlines in the world.
Garuda Indonesia’s Quantum Leap program was settled in 2009 after the management restructurization. Quantum Leap aims to transform Garuda’s to be one of the world’s best airlines. One of the Quantum Leap’s strategies is to add the latest Airbus A330-200s and Boeing 737-800 Next Generation completed with premium service, In-Flight Entertainment (Audio-Video on Demand) at every seat.
In the same year, Garuda went through another brand rejuvenation supported by Landor Associates in Los Angeles. A concept called “Nature’s wing” was introduced in the entire fleet to give the impression of modernity. To face international competition, in 2011, Garuda began to execute initial public offering/IPO at Bursa Efek Jakarta. The year 2012 was marked with an important addition of Bombardier CRJ1000 Next Generation serving cities in Indonesia through hubs of Medan, Surabaya, Balikpapan and Makassar. The service concept "Garuda Indonesia Experience" was then introduced to emphasize on a combination of hospitality and tradition.
Garuda Indonesia’s female FA wears kebaya with lereng batik pattern. Male FA wears grey suit, blue shirt and tie. The uniform (since 2010) is a part of the mission “Garuda Indonesia Experience” to obtain the 5-Star airline rating. Batik reflects the national pride and cultural product acknowledged as UNESCO World Heritage 2009.
As a full-service airline, Garuda offers free snacks and drinks in flights less than 60 minutes. In flights longer than 60 minutes, passengers also get free selections of hot meal.