Garuda Indonesia confirms interest in Croatia Airlines
The Indonesian national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, has confirmed its interest to purchase a 49% stake in Croatia Airlines. Following talks with the Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure in Jakarta, Garuda’s President and CEO Emirsyah Satar said, “The Indonesian market is developing rapidly and Indonesians are travelling more and more which is why we are looking to expand our business into Central Europe, in a country which has solid connections to the rest of the European Union. This is why Croatia and Croatia Airlines are a logical choice for us”.
The Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, outlined the government’s plans to sell a minority stake in its national carrier early next year. Mr. Hajdaš Dončić explained there would be two rounds in the tender process, one which will call for parties to express their interest while the second will outline precise sale conditions. The first tender call is expected in mid October, while the second in February next year.
Garuda Indonesia, which has struggled since the early 1990s with safety concerns, an aging fleet and a ban to operate flights to the European Union, has been going through a renaissance since 2009 after it launched its “Quantum Leap” five year plan with a new management team which has seen the airline improve its reputation, safety, modernise its fleet and return to the EU market. Garuda has ambitious European expansion plans which were to begin this November with the launch of services to London Gatwick. However, runway problems at Jakarta Airport have delayed the planned launch by six months with the airport unable to sufficiently handle Garuda’s new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Within Europe, Garuda currently operates flights to Amsterdam (via Abu Dhabi). The airline is now keen to make Croatia Airlines part of its future European strategy. Garuda will officially become a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, a rival to Croatia Airlines’ Star Alliance, next year. The Indonesian carrier has a fleet of 99 aircraft, with a further 39 on order.