Garuda too wants to be close to Changi Airport

garudaSOON after Lion Air announced its decision to develop Batam as a transit hub for its flights, both domestic and international, complete with aircraft maintenance facilities, Garuda Indonesia followed up with its plan to develop a new hub in Bintan, which will also house a new maintenance centre. Both Indonesian islands are a hop away from Singapore and its Changi Airport.

Garuda president Emirsyah Satar said: “This new operation will help strengthen Garuda’s network development, with a potential to connect East Indonesia and West Indonesia, and become the meeting point for our international flights to Europe and the Far East.”

Is there something that more than meets the eye?

Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, is of course the major hub for both the airlines which are the largest in the country. But why the interest in developing hubs which are barely an hour ride by boat from Singapore? With Asean Open Skies set to be fully implemented by next year, it makes sense for Indonesian airlines to develop alternative ports to draw the traffic, particularly considering the island geography of the Indonesian land mass. For Garuda, Bintan will be its fourth so-called hub after Jakarta, Denpassar (Bali) and Makassar (Sulawesi).

Already Batam and Bintan are growing in popularity as an extended vacation options for visitors to Singapore.

The story may be more than about the rivalry between Garuda and Lion Air. Bet on it that the authorities at Changi Airport are watching from their tower, not that it is anything that they should be concerned about. For now, curious, they should be.

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About Dingzi
Writer by passion, with professional expertise in aviation, customer service and creative writing. Aviation veteran, author, editor and management consultant. Besides commentary on business issues and life-interest topics, travel stories and book reviews, genres include fiction, poetry and plays. Nature lover who abhors cruelty of any form to animals, and a tireless traveler. Above all, a dreamer.

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