Garuda Indonesia will set up a strategic business unit to manage its turboprop operations, as it decides to fly them under the Garuda brand.
The turboprops were initially destined for subsidiary Citilink, but the move was decided against, so as to allow Citilink to focus on point-to-point routes and take on the low-cost competition, says Garuda's chief executive Emirsyah Satar in an interview with Flightglobal Pro in Jakarta.
He adds: "In the past, we figured [that adding turboprops] might complement their operations, but after re-looking at the structure of the network, we decided as a board that the ATRs be used by Garuda."
Citilink first inked a letter of intent with ATR for 25 ATR 72s and options for a further 25 last year, but never firmed up the order. On 1 October, Garuda signed an agreement to lease 25 ATR 72s, with a further 10 on option, from Nordic Aviation Capital.
Garuda is expecting to take delivery of its first two ATR 72s this year and introduce the remaining aircraft gradually through to 2017.
Emirsyah says the turboprops will be based in Denpasar, Makassar and Ambon, and from there, fly to over 10 secondary cities such as Jember, Labuan Bajo, Ende and Tambolaka. The turboprops will also serve as feeders for Garuda's trunk routes.
He adds that Garuda will most likely open routes with the 70-seat turboprops and when the market grows and runways are lengthened, introduce the larger Bombardier CRJ1000s.
Flightglobal Pro data shows that Garuda operates a fleet of 117 aircraft, including Airbus A330s, 737s, 777s and CRJ1000s.