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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        19  February 2011

Garuda to Update Fleet With 6 New Jets

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In a bid to rejuvenate its fleet, national carrier Garuda Indonesia on Friday finalized a deal to lease six Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft from General Electric Capital Aviation Services.

“Under our Quantum Leap program, we will be replacing our Boeing classic series with these brand new airplanes,” president director Emirsyah Satar said, declining to offer financial details.

Three of the new Boeings will arrive in 2013, with the rest coming the year after, as part of Garuda’s effort to cut the average age of its planes in half to 4.4 years. He added that Garuda would add nine Boeing 737-800 NGs and two Airbus A330-200s this year. The carrier now has 87 jets.

“Indonesia is a growing market and we hope that we can capitalize on that. We have a strong domestic base that we want to recapture,” Emirsyah said. Garuda is No. 2 in domestic passenger share after low-cost Lion Air.

Garuda finance chief Elisa Lumbantoruan said the airline had spent about $10 million of the proceeds from the carrier’s Rp 3.3 trillion ($370 million) initial public offering earlier this month. “We used the funds as security deposits to lease our new planes,” he said, adding that two-thirds of the company’s aircraft were leased, with the remainder owned.

He said the carrier would also procure 10 aircraft for its low-cost Citilink carrier to help Garuda compete against Lion Air in the budget airline market. Citilink’s fleet numbers six now, with plans to increase to 25 planes.

Mike Jones, Gecas’s Asia Pacific managing director, said the leasing company would continue to support Garuda’s expansion. “Under [Emirsyah], Garuda can continue to grow,” he said.

Garuda plans to increase its fleet to 153 planes by 2015.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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