Garuda Indonesia offers 50 percent discount off for domestic flights in commemoration of the 21st anniversary of SOE Ministry, said the corporate director of commerce Pikri Ilham Kurniansyah.
“We will further ensure to offer a discount as Garuda Indonesia’s sustaining commitment in providing 5-star airline services with competitive rates to reach all Indonesians,” said Pikri in a written statement on Thursday, March 29.
The discount program dubbed Garuda Indonesia Online Travel Festival will commence on March 31 until May 13, 2019, via Online Travel Agency (OTA), mobile apps, LinkAja, and its official website garuda-indonesia.com.
Pikri explained the program aimed at supporting the national economy, especially the tourism sector, micro, small, medium enterprises, and the logistics industry.
Moreover, he added, Garuda Indonesia also provides various promotions through travel fair or online market. Thus, he reminded those who need flight tickets at affordable prices to make a booking long before the departure date to obtain discounts.
“We also call on other airliners to follow our steps and give discounts of flight ticket in a bid to boost community economy,” Pikri concluded
Garuda Indonesia is facing continued pressure from its majority shareholder, the Indonesian government, to lower ticket prices and stimulate tourism as the economy flags.
After the transport minister’s appeal, last month to Garuda and other domestic airlines, Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s most trusted minister Luhut Panjaitan this week chided the country’s flagship carrier and ordered it to lower ticket prices by next week.
“The government has made repeated appeals to airline operators [to cut ticket prices],” Luhut, the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs reportedly told airline executives, according to leaked minutes of their meeting on Monday.
Panjaitan suggested expensive ticket prices would discourage air travellers in the domestic market and tarnish the government’s image among Indonesians, who will vote in presidential and legislative elections on April 17.
“The problem of airline ticket prices could cause various public perceptions … that could trigger chaos,” he was quoted as saying by local media outlet Tempo, which published the minutes. “Garuda Indonesia, as the leading national airline operator, must cut ticket prices … it is an order.”
The Indonesian government owns 60 per cent of Garuda. The balance is held by a subsidiary of wealthy businessman Chairul Tandjung and floated on the Indonesian stock exchange.
The Indonesian government has sought to raise consumer sentiment and shore up the economy, which expanded by about 5 per cent last year, short of the 7 per cent Widodo promised when first elected almost five years ago.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy has banked on tourism as a growth driver while grappling with decreased earnings from flagging exports. In a report, last June, the CAPA Centre for Aviation said domestic air travel made up 75 per cent of total passenger traffic. But visitor numbers to Indonesia increased by 49 per cent in the four years until 2017, while Garuda Indonesia was the market leader, ferrying 39 per cent of all international passengers using Indonesian airlines.
About 15.58 million people visited the archipelago, home to about 265 million people, last year from 14.04 million in the previous year, according to data from statistics office BPS.
In January, several Indonesian carriers including Garuda dropped ticket prices by as much as 60 per cent, following a public backlash over price spikes during the holiday period, Bloomberg reported.
In early February, Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi appealed to airlines to make further reductions, after state oil company Pertamina, lowered the price of jet fuel at the capital’s Soekarno Hatta International Airport slightly from 8,210 rupiah (58 US cents) per litre to 7,960 rupiah. Pertamina noted the new price was 26 per cent lower than the cost of fuel at Singapore’s Changi Airport, where it cost 10,769 rupiah per litre.
Subsequently, Garuda’s chief executive officer I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra, known as Ari Askhara, announced a further discount of 20 per cent.
“This is in line with the aspirations of Indonesians, a number of national industry associations and the [wishes of] the president of Indonesia, who wants a reduction in flight prices to support economic growth, especially in the tourism sector,” Ari said on February 16.