Garuda formally signs SkyTeam accession pact

Jakarta
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Garuda Indonesia has officially inked an agreement that will see it joining the SkyTeam alliance in 2012.

Indonesia's flag-carrier will spend the next year working with the alliance to integrate its systems with the other member airlines, and ensuring that it will be fully compliant with all requirements.

It will be the first airline from Indonesia, southeast Asia's largest and fastest-growing economy, to join a global alliance.

"Joining SkyTeam is a long-term development strategy for Garuda Indonesia, and for years we have been upgrading our service and actively forging co-operation with SkyTeam member airlines with this objective in mind," says Garuda president Emirsyah Satar.

"As the first Indonesian airline to join this world-class alliance, our strategic target is to continuously strengthen profitability and boost international market competitiveness."

Garuda will expand SkyTeam's presence in southeast Asia, adding 30 new destinations to the alliance network. These include Surabaya in East Java, Medan in North Sumatra and Perth in Australia.

It already has extensive links with Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines, China Southern and China Airlines, and plans to establish additional codeshare agreements with other SkyTeam partners.

"The most fitting word to characterise 2010 for SkyTeam is growth. Welcoming a member that covers a considerable part of southeast Asia definitely illustrates our expansion", says SkyTeam chairman Leo van Wijk.

"Garuda's financial and operational restructuring has proven very successful and I am convinced that this will help position the airline as a major player in the region."

Jakarta will serve as an alternate gateway to and from Asia, adds SkyTeam managing director Marie-Joseph Malé.

"Garuda's consideration to expand its intercontinental network to Frankfurt, Paris, London and Rome will make the airline an increasingly attractive option for business and leisure travelers," he says.