Garuda’s Low Cost Citilink Eyes Frankfurt Airbus A330neo Flights

Garuda Indonesia’s low cost subsidiary, Citilink, is planning an ambitious expansion of their long haul services using their forthcoming A330-900neos. The carrier’s CEO, Juliandra Nurtjahjo, told Indonesian media on Sunday that Frankfurt and Jeddah are both on the cards, with plans for expansion to Vietnam and Australia being considered also.

Citilink A320
Citilink are looking to step out of their comfort zone. Photo: Citilink

Indonesian low cost carrier Citilink have announced ambitious plans to expand their services outside of southeast Asia, and are eyeing routes to Frankfurt for their new A330-900neo. As well as Frankfurt, they have said they will look to open routes to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia with their second A330neo.

Aerotime News Hub quote Citilink CEO Juliandra Nurtjahjo as saying,

“Frankfurt and Jeddah are potential destinations that will be developed. We will introduce the inaugural flights in October and December.”

This will be the first significant step out of the SEA region for Citilink, barring some seasonal charter services to China.

What are the details?

According to the Tempo, the low cost subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia wants to head out to Frankfurt to make more connections available to the airline. The service would be operated by their soon to be delivered A330-900neo, which will feature 42 premium economy and 323 economy seats, for a total of 365.

Citilink routes
Citilink’s proposed routes. Image: GCMap

The CEO of the airline reportedly said that Frankfurt had been chosen as being the third largest flight hub in Europe, after London and Amsterdam.

The airline is due to receive both A330-900neos between October and December this year. Citilink say that their second A330neo will be used to open up flights to Jeddah in December. According to CH-Aviation, the carrier is also eyeing expansion in Australia and Vietnam in the future.

Garuda A330neo
The A330-900neos will come from Garuda. Photo: Airbus

Garuda told Flight Global that these will come from their order of 14 of the type, although it didn’t confirm whether Citilink would take any of its A330-200s or -300s for additional route expansion.

Citilink is a low cost airline, set up by well-known Indonesian carrier Garuda Indonesia. Historically, they’ve always focused on shuttle services between various Indonesian cities that were unserved by Garuda. Launched in 2001, they started out with routes between Surabaya on Java to Yogyakarta, Balikpapan, Tarakan and Makassar.

By 2004, Citilink had ramped up services to a total of 10 destinations and began replacing its fleet of Fokker F28s with Boeing 737-300s. By 2010, it had a two 737-300s and a 737-400 in its fleet. Shortly after this, in May 2011, Garuda spun off the airline, establishing it as a separate brand, business and operator. It was at this time it received an eye catching livery overhaul and began to market itself separately from Garuda.

Citilink A320 airbus
Citilink operate over 50 A320 family aircraft. Photo: Airbus

Today, Citilink has a sizeable fleet of four ATR 72s, two 737-500s, eight A320neos and 43 A320-200s. They have two A330-900neos on order, as well as an additional 27 A320neos, which will slowly replace their aging A320s as they arrive. Despite being a low cost carrier, Citilink aren’t stingy on the amenities, becoming in January the first LCC in Asia Pacific to offer free WiFi at cruising altitude.

Despite their consistent expansion, Citilink have yet to stray out of their local area extensively. The majority of their 44 routes are still within Indonesia, with just one route to Cambodia, two to Malaysia and one to Timor Leste as well. Outside of southeast Asia, the carrier operates three seasonal routes to China.

The ambition to launch a route to Frankfurt is somewhat surprising, but could pay off for the low cost Indonesian carrier. We’ll be excited to see them take delivery of their first A330, and look forward to seeing it arrive in Europe in the future.