Garuda Indonesia Has Signed A Letter Of Intent For 4 Airbus A330-800s

Garuda Indonesia has expressed an interest in purchasing four Airbus A330-800 aircraft.

Airbus A330neo
The Airbus A330neos are based on the original A330 design. Photo: Alex Cheban via Wikimedia Commons

The national airline of Indonesia’s Q2 financial report shows a Letter of Intent to purchase these A330neos, with the delivery schedule starting from 2021 to 2022. These are scheduled to be split evenly across the two years. The first deliveries would be in Q3 and Q4 2021. The remaining orders would be delivered in Q1 and Q2 2022.

Garuda state that the prospective orders would equip two Rolls-Royce Trent 7000-72 engines with a nominal thrust of 72,850 lbf.

Intent against the grain

This LoI comes at a time when airlines generally aren’t ordering the Airbus A330-800s. The newest neo version of the A330 is struggling to find a place on the market compared with its larger sibling. There has been a total of 10 firm orders of the aircraft, which is a huge difference compared with the 238 total orders of the A330-900neo range.

These low numbers have caused some speculation on whether Airbus will continue production of the aircraft. The manufacturer canceled the production of the A380 airliner, which had more orders than this.

Airbus A330-900
The Airbus A330-900 is far more popular than its sister aircraft. Photo: Alex Cheban via Wikemedia Commons

Growing pains

The failure to offer a suitable replacement for the A330 along with its competitor, the Boeing 767, has caused less interest over other models. This A330-800 is also less fuel-efficient than the Boeing 787-9 to offer it much competition.

The A330-800 is the second member of the A330neo family after the A330-900. It took its maiden flight in Toulouse, France in November 2018. Since then, Kuwait Airways confirmed an order for eight of the aircraft, with a view to launching them in 2020. Uganda National Airlines Company is the other only carrier to order this edition, with an order of just two.

Both aircraft are neo aircraft, meaning they have New Engine Options. They also hold the same type rating as classic engine option A330s. This enables pilots not to have to undergo additional training to fly these types.

Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-800
Garuda Indonesia has been under criticism within the last year. Photo: Royal S King via Wikimedia Commons

Under scrutiny

The Q2 announcement was followed by reports that Indonesian authorities detained former Garuda CEO, Emirsyah Satar. The detainment was part of a corruption investigation relating to the airline’s aircraft procurement. The arrest came as part of a two-year probe into the airline’s purchases of aircraft and engines over the period between 2008 and 2013.

The company’s procurement of Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines was at the core of the investigation. The manufacturer’s total care program and Airbus’ A330 and A320 jets were also under scrutiny.

Garuda has also been under criticism for their operations this year. The airline frequently altered services to and from London, and at some points have canceled them altogether. These alterations have meant that there have been a total of 8 changes to their London routes so far in 2019. Indonesia also raised the price floor on over 1,000 domestic flights in a bid to protect their national airlines, including Garuda.

Simple Flying reached out to Garuda Indonesia for comment on their report but had not heard back prior to publication. We will update with any further announcements.