Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda Indonesia is planning to launch flights to Los Angeles with a stopover to Tokyo in 2017. The airline is currently negotiating with Japanese officials seeking approval for using Tokyo’s Narita International Airport as a transit hub when it finally launches its flights between Jakarta and Los Angeles.
Muhammad Arif Wibowo, Garuda Indonesia’s president director, said, “The company is making extensive efforts for procuring a license by June 2017 and would be following the required procedures. If the airline succeeds in getting a stopover in Japan en route to Los Angeles then the route would undoubtedly be more profitable.”
Travel experts said that the potential market for the route is expected to grow reaching over 400,000 passengers every year. Moreover, the demand is also likely to increase when the U.S. economy significantly improves in 2017.
The Jakarta-Los Angeles route is being currently served with the help of two Boeing 777-300ER aircrafts thrice weekly. The airline is presently serving Los Angeles-Jakarta and Seattle-Jakarta routes via Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport through a codeshare partnership with Delta Air Lines.
The move by Garuda Indonesia has come after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had announced in August this year that the aviation safety performance of Indonesia is now meeting international standards, thus allowing the flagship carrier to start conducting flights to the United States. It may be recalled that the FAA had barred Indonesian carriers from operating flights to the United States in 2007 citing safety concerns. The Southeast Asian nation had since then struggled to amend its patchy aviation record.
Now that Garuda Indonesia had finally been removed from the FAA list and granted permission to operate flights services to the U.S. once again, the airline is also considering another route to New York via Europe. The airline is serving two European destinations now – London and Amsterdam.