The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 06/06/2012 9:55 AM
National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia plans to purchase three Airbus A330F freighters worth US$600 million in order to tap into the growing cargo market, a company executive says.
The airline’s marketing director Elisa Lumbantoruan said that the freighters were expected to enter service in 2014.
“The cargo business is very promising nowadays because the demand for fast-moving consumer goods distribution across the country and abroad is high,” Elisa told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
According to research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, Indonesia’s air cargo volume will increase by 5.7 percent this year to 920,000 tons from 870,000 tons throughout last year.
Frost & Sullivan said that the four main airports in the country — Soekarno-Hatta in Cengkareng, Juanda in Surabaya, Ngurah Rai in Bali and Polonia in Medan — accounted for 47.2 percent of the total air cargo in 2011, with 36 percent passing through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
Garuda saw 10.8 percent growth in cargo throughout last year, from 207,000 tons in 2010 to 229,000 tons in 2011.
Based on the company’s recent data, they were able to carry 65,488 tons of goods in the first quarter of this year, a 16.7 percent increase from 56,127 tons carried during the same period last year.
Elisa also said that on a quarterly basis, cargo grew by 9.07 percent from 60,044 tons in the fourth quarter of last year.
“We are currently waiting for a slot from the regulator for our freighters,” he said.
In addition, the company also spent Rp 5 billion (US$530,000) to expand their cargo warehouse at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to 4,625 square meters in order to accommodate more goods.
The renovation was part of a mid-term program to position Cargo Garuda Indonesia as “the leader for Asian cargo brands by 2015”.
Moreover, Garuda picked the A330F aircraft for efficiencies in future maintenance as it has already ordered a number of other Airbus aircraft.
Two months ago, Garuda signed a purchase contract for 11 A330-300s worth $2.54 billion from the European aerospace manufacturer Airbus.
The deal was signed by Garuda Indonesia president director Emirsyah Satar and Airbus program vice president Tom William, and witnessed by President Susilo Bambang Yudho-yono and UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the State Palace during the latter’s visit to Indonesia.
The 11 planes will be delivered from the fourth quarter of this year until the fourth quarter of 2017.
“We currently operate a fleet of 16 A330-200/300s to serve destinations in the North and Southeast Asia,” he added. (nfo)