Garuda to join SkyTeam on 5 March 2014

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Garuda Indonesia will become the 20th member of the SkyTeam alliance on 5 March 2014.

“Garuda is on target to meet all the membership criteria required by SkyTeam, including implementing a new IT platform and customer-focused initiatives," says SkyTeam’s managing director Michael Wisbrun. "We look forward to welcoming the airline on 5 March next year.”

An official from the alliance interviewed by Flightglobal Pro says, however, that the carrier will still have to undergo an audit in early 2014 before it is formally cleared to enter SkyTeam.

Garuda chief executive Emirsyah Satar welcomed the announcement, saying: “Joining SkyTeam marks another significant milestone in the company’s development, as we are now entering the stage of being a global player. This is part of our strategy to extend our network worldwide while at the same time improving our service by facilitating a seamless and more convenient travel experience for our customers."

The Indonesian carrier had planned to join the alliance by the end of 2011, but was delayed as a result of issues with its IT systems. That led the airline to change over to the Amadeus Altea reservations system earlier this year.

Garuda will also be the alliance's second member carrier in Southeast Asia, joining Vietnam Airlines.