ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Garuda sees clear skies despite booking $373m loss in 2014
National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has experienced positive financial performance in the first two months of this year after ending 2014 with a net loss of US$373 million, the company’s top executive says.
The company posted a $1.2 million profit in February versus $77.4 million loss in the same period last year, as passenger numbers grew 10.8 percent to 1.72 million during the month.
In January, passenger growth reached 15.1 percent year-on-year (yoy) to 1.87 million, albeit booking a $2.8 million loss in the first month of the year.
These developments are considered an improvement after the carrier faced turbulence last year, according to Garuda Indonesia president director Arif Wibowo.
The flag carrier booked a $373 million net loss in 2014 — worsening from a $11.2 million net profit in 2013 — as foreign exchange losses and rising costs squeezed its revenues.
Garuda’s operating loss amounted to $399.31 million last year, compared with $62.94 million in the previous year. Losses before tax reached $460.53 million versus $13.65 million profit in 2013.
Arif attributed the firm’s poor financial performance to the weakening of the rupiah against the US dollar, the rising price of fuel, which touched a record high last year, as well as regulatory aspects that were less favorable for the country’s aviation industry.
“Apart from the external aspects, Garuda was in an investment stage in 2014, during which we brought in 35 new aircraft for the expansion of both Garuda and Citilink,” Arif, who was installed Garuda CEO last December after leading subsidiary Citilink, told reporters during a press conference on Friday.
The new aircraft consist of two Boeing 777-300 ERs, four Airbus 330-300s, 12 Boeing 737-800 NGs, Bombardier CRJ-1000s, three NextGens, six ATR 72-600s, and eight Airbus A320s for Garuda’s low-cost arm Citilink — bringing total operated aircraft during 2014 to 169 with an average aircraft age of four-and-a-half years.
Garuda’s finance and risk management director I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra said that with the strengthening of the US greenback and unstable fuel prices, the airline would review its currency and fuel hedging strategies.
Arif also said that the airlines would improve their revenue-generating strategies by closing unprofitable routes, delaying the opening of several new routes and focusing on expansion to China and the Middle East this year.
The firm would also restructure its cost driver to increase efficiency without reducing the airline’s quality of service, he added.
Through these programs, Garuda is expected to save $146.94 million and another $172.25 million in savings are forecast this year due to the drop in global oil prices, which has resulted in lower-priced airline fuel (avtur).
These efforts were expected to improve Garuda’s performance this year, concluded Arif.
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