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EU poised to lift Garuda ban

European Union official say the are “confident” that a two-year ban on Indonesian flag carrier Garuda will be lifted this week when they publish a quarterly list of airlines banned from the region.

All 51 registered Indonesian airlines were banned from the EU in June 2007 following a spate of accidents, including a crash in Yogyakarta, Java, in which 21 people were killed. The pilot was imprisoned for two years for criminal negligence.Since the ban, the Indonesia government has instituted reform, including new laws, grounding airlines such as AdamAir.

Emirsyah Satar, Garuda’s chief executive, said the airline had “come a long way” since the ban. Technology had been installed on aircraft to monitor pilot behaviour, and service standards had increased.

Jusman Djamal, Indonesia’s transport minister, said last month that only three of 121 violations found by the EU’s aviation sector audit team in 2007 remained outstanding.

Garuda remains a global aviation giant, and despite the current industry-wide woes, its profits are rising, thanks mainly to strong domestic demand.


Garuda’s net profit in the first four months of 2009 was Rp326.1bn ($32m), up 515 per cent from the same period last year. Net profit for 2008 was Rp669bn, rising over tenfold from Rp60bn in 2007. It has also rescheduled the majority of its $650m of debt and is also replacing its fleet with more fuel-efficient aircraft.

If the EU ban is lifted, flights to Amsterdam are set to start early next year, with London and Frankfurt following soon afterwards.

Mr Emirsyah said the government had given approval for the airline to go public.

He told the Financial Times: “If it hadn’t been for the financial crisis, we’d have wanted to be public by now. We now aim to go public in the middle of next year.”