Garuda doubling 737-800 fleet

Singapore
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Garuda Indonesia in the coming weeks will be doubling its Boeing 737-800 fleet and is seeking to get even more 737-800s on 6-8-year dry-leases.

A senior official at Garuda involved in aircraft procurement says this month the carrier is taking delivery of two 737-800s on dry-lease from GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS).

Both aircraft are at UK-based maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) specialist ATC Lasham, says the official, adding that Garuda will receive one on 7 December and the other on 19 December.

He also says in January Garuda will be receiving one aircraft on lease from Macquarie AirFinance and one from CIT.

All four aircraft will double the national carrier's 737-800 fleet to eight. The airline is also in the market for more on lease, says the official, adding that ideally it would like to get 737-800s on six-year leases but is willing to settle for eight-year leases.

Garuda needs 737-800s because it is phasing out its 737-300/400s.

It also has 25 737-800s on order with Boeing. The official says the first of these was originally due to come next May but there is likely to be a one or two month delay because of the recent strike at Boeing's factory.

The airline also has 10 Boeing 777-300ERs on order with first deliveries due to start in 2010. But Garuda's executive VP of finance, Eddy Porwanto, told ATI in October that the airline was looking to delay deliveries of these aircraft because of the global financial crisis.

The official ATI spoke to today says the depreciation of the Indonesian currency against the US dollar is one of the key reasons for Garuda seeking to delay delivery of the 777-300ERs.

He says Garuda instead is looking to get 777s on lease as an interim solution but like many carriers Garuda has encountered problems finding 777s available for lease.

He also says the carrier is negotiating to lease Airbus A330-300s and is more confident of securing leases on these.