Garuda Indonesia plans to buy turboprop aircraft to serve low-density routes in eastern Indonesia.

The carrier is likely to assess either the ATR 72 or Bombardier Q400 aircraft for the requirement, Garuda president and chief executive Emirsyah Satar said at a press conference in Singapore.

"We'll be operating them [the aircraft], but the question is which entity - will there be a separate branding or will it be part of Garuda," he says.

Destinations that the carrier is looking at include Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua.

"We want to look at the market first and see that there is a demand," he adds.

Garuda does not operate any turboprop aircraft, while its low-cost subsidiary Citilink is phasing out its Boeing 737 classics and switching to an all-Airbus A320 fleet.

Its turboprop plan will put it in direct competition with low-cost carrier Lion Air, which has a fleet of ATR aircraft that are used by its subsidiary Wings Air on secondary routes.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news