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Garuda tweaks London service again despite talk of route closure

Garuda Indonesia has tweaked its London service again, despite an earlier mention by its chief executive that flights to London will end in August.

Since 16 July, the carrier has operated Denpasar-Medan-London Heathrow thrice-weekly using Airbus A330-200s.

This replaces the previous Jakarta-London Heathrow-Denpasar service operated by Boeing 777-300ERs, of a similar frequency.

Garuda explains the change supports Indonesia's plans to boost the country's tourism, and helps to boost its eastern hub in Denpasar and western hub in Medan.

"We are optimistic that with the launch of the Denpasar-Medan-London service, we can expand our international market share, and at the same time boost the market potential," says Garuda's commercial director Pikri Ilham Kurniansyah.

Earlier in May, however, chief executive Ari Askhara told an Indonesian parliamentary commission that the London flights will end in August, and that flights to Amsterdam will be reduced by half to thrice-weekly, in order to cut losses. He told the commission that the London flights could not be sustained without subsidies.

A search on Garuda's booking engine indicates that the flights are likely to operate during the winter schedule, which begins 27 October this year.

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