Indonesia's Citilink has commenced freighter services using a Boeing 737-500 on 10 November.

Indonesia's Citilink commenced freighter operations on 10 November using a Boeing 737-500.

The low-cost carrier's parent Garuda Indonesia says the aircraft can carry 12t of cargo. In the initial stage, it will operate flights in the eastern Papua province, such as Jayapura-Wamena route.

As part of a wider effort by Indonesia's state-owned enterprises to revive the defunct Merpati Nusantara Airlines, Merpati will act as a general sales agent for the freighter service.

"On 10 November, an aircraft owned by Citilink will depart for Papua [province] from Jakarta. Out of the five aircraft that will be used as freighters, three are owned by Garuda Indonesia and two others by Citilink," says Garuda's chief executive Ari Askhara.

Images seen by Cirium on social media show that the 737-500 used for freighter service bears the registration PK-GGC, and the aircraft has been stripped off its seats. However, no main deck cargo door was installed, suggesting that cargo will likely be loaded through the passenger door.

Cirium fleets data shows that prior to the launch of the freighter service, Citilink has three 737-500s and two -300s in storage, inclusive of PK-GGC.

Last month, Garuda committed to lease two 737-800 converted freighters from GECAS starting mid-2020.