Garuda promotes Melbourne-London connections after rescheduling flights

Garuda Indonesia has retimed Melbourne to Jakarta flights to facilitate connections on the kangaroo route to London and could potentially retime Sydney-Jakarta flights if it is able to secure earlier slots at Sydney.


Summary

  • Garuda has moved up its Melbourne-Jakarta flights by six and a half hours in order to facilitate connections with London;
  • Garuda is now offering some of the most competitive fares and one of the quickest transit times in the Melbourne-London market;
  • Sydney-Jakarta flights have not yet been moved up to facilitate connections with London.

Garuda’s Melbourne-Jakarta flight, which operates four times weekly, now departs at 730am and lands in Jakarta at about 1030am, providing a 90min connection time for London. The flight will depart Melbourne at 630am during daylight savings in order to maintain the connection in Jakarta. Previously this flight departed Melbourne at 2pm in summer and 1pm during daylight savings time, landing in Jakarta at about 530pm.

Garuda began operating nonstop flights to London in late 2017, replacing a one-stop service via Singapore. The flight departs Jakarta at 1205pm and lands at London Heathrow at 8pm.

The return flight from London departs Heathrow at 955pm and lands in Jakarta at 655pm. This flight connects well with Jakarta-Melbourne, which departs Jakarta at 905pm and lands in Melbourne at 735am (or 635am during daylight savings).

Total transit time from Melbourne to London is 23hr30min and from London to Melbourne is 22hr40min. Garuda is offering return fares in the Melbourne-London market from approximately AUD1200 return. It is currently the lowest cost option on some days, undercutting the other 15 or so airlines offering a one-stop product from Melbourne to London.

Garuda also has among the quickest journey times in both directions. The quickest journey time on Singapore Airlines is 22hr20min from Melbourne and 22hr45min from London. The quickest journey time on Emirates is 22hr40min from Melbourne and 22hr30min from London. Under the Qantas schedule being implemented in late Mar-2018, the quickest journey time from Melbourne will be 22hr50min via Perth (via Singapore will be 50min longer) and 21hr40min from London via Perth (via Singapore will be significantly longer).

Garuda has offered reasonable layover times from Heathrow to Melbourne and Sydney since Mar-2016, when it began serving Heathrow. However, the connections from Melbourne and Sydney to Heathrow were initially unappealing due to the stop in Singapore (making for a two-stop product) and a long layover time.

Sydney to Heathrow connections are still unappealing as Garuda’s Sydney-Jakarta flight still departs Sydney in the late morning, arriving in Jakarta after the new Jakarta-London nonstop flight. Garuda could potentially move up its Sydney departure to early morning but securing new slots at Sydney may challenging.

The curfew at Sydney may also be an issue. Garuda’s Bali-Melbourne flight now lands at 600am four days per week to facilitate the new 730am departure from Melbourne to Jakarta. In daylight savings, this flight will land at about 500am. Garuda could overnight an aircraft in Sydney to avoid a potential curfew issue but this is not ideal as it would impact aircraft utilisation and its Bali-Sydney schedule. (Moving Jakarta-Sydney is not an option as it would impact connections from London to Sydney; this explains why Garuda adjusted Bali-Melbourne rather than Jakarta-Melbourne to accommodate the new Melbourne-Jakarta schedule).

Prior to Mar-2016, Garuda served London Gatwick but with a stop in Amsterdam in both directions. The Melbourne/Sydney-Gatwick product was not appealing as it was a two-stop product and there were also long layovers in one direction.

Garuda launched services to Gatwick in 2014 and at the same time upgraded Amsterdam from one-stop to non-stop. Amsterdam was previously served via Abu Dhabi.

Garuda’s Amsterdam-Jakarta flight departs Amsterdam at 345pm and lands in Jakarta at 1120am. Therefore, quick connections are not available to Melbourne or Sydney.

Garuda could potentially retime its Amsterdam flights to connect better with Melbourne and Sydney but London is clearly the priority as London is a much bigger market from Australia. Moving up the Melbourne-Jakarta flight also has improved domestic connections within Indonesia, which is more relevant than Amsterdam and potentially London (given the intense competition in the Melbourne-London market).

Garuda’s third destination in Australia, Perth, does not connect well with London or Amsterdam. Garuda’s Jakarta-Perth flight departs at 1025am.

Garuda uses A330s on all its Australia flights except Jakarta-Perth, which is served with 737-800s. 777-300ERs are used to Amsterdam and London with a first class product available on all London flights. All 777-300ERs and A330s have flat business class seats but some of the A330s have an undesirable six seat abreast configuration.