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Garuda Invited to Resume Flights to the U.S.A.

FAA Offers Technical Assistance to Indonesian Government and Garuda to Help Restart Flight Service to the U.S. West Coast.

(11/17/2009) Bisnis Indonesia reports that the U.S. Government has invited Garuda Indonesia to re-open its long-abandoned direct flights between the U.S.A. and Indonesia with assistance from the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency (FAA).

Garuda terminated its flights to Los Angeles in mid-1998 that operated on a route that traveled in both directions between Jakarta - Bali - Biak - Honolulu - Los Angeles.

The Minister of Transportation for Indonesia, Freddy Numberi, told the press that the U.S. invitation was delivered by U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Cameron R. Hume after Indonesian aviation was moved from a cautionary category II rating to the more exemplary category I rating. Said Numberi, "this offer looks to be a good opportunity for Garuda and all of Indonesia."

Minister Numberi said the U.S. invitation will facilitate Garuda's possible return to U.S. airspace and fulfill the airline's desire to recommence long-haul services.

The Minister said he hoped Garuda would use this opportunity in accordance with its overall strategic plan for route and business development.

The CEO of Garuda, Emirsyah Satar, told the press that his airline was prioritizing Europe in their plans to recommence long-haul flights. The Indonesian national carrier will resume service to Amsterdam in June 2010 and the earliest they might consider flying to the U.S.A. would be 2012.

Despite the reluctance of Garuda's CEO to start flying again to the U.S.A., the Director General of Civil Aviation, Herry Bakti S. Gumay, urged the Indonesian flag carrier to start flying to the U.S.A. in 2011 and wants Garuda to invite the FAA technical team to undertake the needed audits that will permit an Indonesian flag carrier to once again land in Los Angeles.