Sat, 12 Feb 2000

Garuda, MAS sign code-sharing deal

JIMBARAN, Bali (JP): Garuda Indonesia and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) signed a code-sharing agreement on Friday, giving their respective passengers more scheduled weekly flights between the two countries.

Garuda commercial director Bachrul Hakim and MAS executive vice president Dato' Bashir Ahmad signed the deal here in a ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

"Under the agreement, Garuda can sell a certain amount of seats or cargo space on MAS using Garuda's own flight number. While MAS can also do the same with Garuda," he said.

The agreement stipulates that both airlines can sell between 500 kilograms and 1.5 metric tons of cargo space and between 25 and 50 seats for each airlines' flights.

Ahmad said the agreement would accommodate an anticipated increase in economic activity between the two countries in the wake of their respective economic recoveries.

"We know the market will expand. What we are doing is anticipating the soon-to-come expanding market," he said.

MAS president Sri Tadjudin Ramli said MAS had experienced a recent surge in its flights to Indonesia.

The airline has had a recent load factor of 70 percent for its Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar flights, he said.

Its recent flights between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta also have had load factors of about 70 percent, while MAS' Kuala Lumpur- Medan flights currently had load factors at above 80 percent, he said.

"We have had even greater improvement in the intercontinental flight market, but the regional market recovery is also fine," Ramli said.

The code-sharing arrangement is retroactive, taking effect from Feb. 1. It covers the following routes, in both directions: Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur; Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar; Kuala Lumpur- Surabaya; Medan-Kuala Lumpur; and Penang-Medan.

MAS currently operates on all of the above routes, while Garuda only operates both ends of the Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta route.

Garuda, however, will resume its services on the Kuala Lumpur- Medan route in April.

Ahmad also said MAS would increase the number of its flights between Kuala Lumpur and Denpasar from seven fights a week to ten flights a week by mid-February.

"In the future we will further increase this route to twice a day," he added.

The code-sharing arrangement, at a later date, is also expected to include the Johor Baru-Denpasar route and the Johor Baru-Surabaya route, Ahmad said.

Garuda also has code-sharing agreements with a number of other foreign airlines, namely Korean Airlines for Seoul-Jakarta flights, China Airlines for Taipei-Jakarta and Taipei-Denpasar flights and Silk Air for Singapore-Balikpapan flights.

In the past, Garuda had the same arrangement with Swiss Air for Jakarta-Zurich flights, Garuda corporate secretary Pujobroto said.

MAS, Malaysia's flag carrier, had a net profit of M$270 million (about US$70 million) in the first half of the current financial year ending in March.

"It is a turnaround compared to the whole of the previous year when we booked a net loss of M$400 million," Ramli said.

He, however, expressed concern that oil, which accounts for about 30 percent of the airline's total operating cost, had doubled in price to almost US$30 per barrel.

"We cannot guarantee that in the second half (of the current fiscal year) we will achieve the same level of net profit as the first half, but we are confident we will be in the black," he said.(udi)