Garuda is reviving efforts to lease additional widebodies as it looks to phase out its five remaining McDonnell Douglas DC-10s, writes Leithen Francis.

The airline is seeking three Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered Airbus A330-300s on five- to 10- year operating leases, says vice- president aircraft maintenance Agus Sudarya. R-R Trent engines power the six A330-300s now in the Garuda fleet.

The Indonesian state-owned carrier is phasing out its five DC-10-30s and plans to operate the A330s to cities now served by the trijets, such as Guangzhou in China, Taipei in Taiwan and Seoul in South Korea. The airline still has a deferred order for three A330s from its 1989 contract.

"If available, we need Rolls-Royce engines on the A330-300s but if not available then we will look at General Electric and Pratt & Whitney," says Agus, adding that the airline has held discussions with various lessors, with deliveries targeted for September.

That month it also hopes to receive an additional 747-400 passenger aircraft, although it has yet to sign a lease on this aircraft. Garuda needs an additional 747-400 because it has been phasing out its ageing 747-200s and plans to use the -400 for its services to Tokyo and Europe.

While Garuda has been retiring its 747-200s, it is looking to lease two 747-200 freighters, says Agus, who adds that they are wanted "as soon as possible", and by September at the latest. Although Agus dismisses reports that the airline is evaluating the acquisition of 737 freighters later this year, a source in Garuda's business development department says that no decision has been taken. Agus says the airline is seeking to lease around 12 more 737-300/400s to add to its fleet of 46 737-300/400/500s.

Source: Flight International