Garuda Indonesia is coming to Los Angeles! The carrier has sought permission to operate 3x per week between Jakarta and Los Angeles beginning in November 2017. Garuda plans to use its three-cabin 777-300ER on the route and operate the flight via Tokyo Narita.
What is Garuda Thinking?
I welcome this news. After flying in Garuda First Class last week from Jakarta to Amsterdam I will be one of Garuda’s biggest cheerleaders. The flight was undoubtedly one of the best of my life. Business class does not look bad either — I look forward to trying it.
But what is Garuda thinking?! Another Los Angeles to Tokyo route? Competing with a dozen carriers offering one-stop service to Jakarta?
I agree with One Mile At A Time — there is little chance this route will be profitable. The market is already saturated. Garuda will have to undercut its competition on cost (unlikely) or somehow distinguish itself in terms of service.
Garuda goes up against Singapore Airlines, ANA, JAL, Delta, American, and United on the same route. The first three are already in the same league as Garuda. Connecting to Jakarta, Garuda also competes against Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, EVA, Phillipines and a handful of Chinese carriers (even Qantas via Sydney).
Fellow SkyTeam member Delta is hubbed at LAX, but that probably won’t help either. The carrier has its own service to Narita and is closely aligned with China Eastern, directing connecting SE Asia traffic via its focus city in Shanghai.
So let’s be clear — this is just a prestige route. Garuda wants to fly to the USA (now that it can, thanks to an upgrade in its safety rating) and it will, whether it loses money or not.
That’s nothing to complain about – – it may mean some great fare sales and another chance to try out Garuda’s stellar premium product.