This summer, Garuda Indonesia will be increasing its services on the popular Denpasar-Sydney run, albeit by a single weekly return service. Garuda Indonesia runs a service down to Sydney most nights of the week, returning to Denpasar the following morning. The frequency and timing can alter slightly depending on the season and demand.
Zac George in Points From The Pacific is reporting the service will be run daily over the southern 2019/20 summer season. This information is derived from Routes Online. These flights will operate between December 18, 2019, and January 22, 2020, inclusive
The summer Sydney schedule
According to both sources, the regular GA714 service from Denpasar to Sydney will operate late every evening except Tuesdays The flight pushes back at Denpasar at 22:25 and lands in Sydney at 07:25 the following morning.
This service then becomes GA715 back to Denpasar, departing Sydney every day except Wednesday at 10:00 to arrive in Denpasar just in time for a late lunch at 13:15.
The extra services are GA734 and GA735. GA734 will leave Denpasar early on Wednesday mornings at 01:30 and land in Sydney later that morning at 10:30. The aircraft will depart Sydney at 13:00 as GA735 on Wednesdays to arrive back in Denpasar at 16:30.
The net effect is that there is a service from Denpasar to Sydney late every evening, or on Wednesdays, very early in the morning.
Garuda puts older A330 on the route
Garuda Indonesia operates A330-300s on this route, giving it an edge over competitors like Jetstar and Virgin Australia who operate single-aisle planes on the route. However, as Zac George notes, Garuda Indonesia generally puts one of their older A330-300s on the route with their older seats. While it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference for economy passengers – the configuration is 2-4-2 on all of Garuda’s A330-300s, business class passengers will notice the difference.
Garuda Indonesia’s updated A330-300s seat 24 passengers in 1-2-1 comfort whereas the older A330-300s squeeze in 42 business class passengers in a 2-2-2 configuration. On the plus side, they are lie-flat seats.
Hotly contested route
The Denpasar-Sydney-Denpasar route is a hotly contested one. Bali is a very popular holiday bolthole for Aussies with nearly 600,000 people taking the flight in either direction in the last 12 months. But it is primarily a price-sensitive leisure route, meaning the full-service carriers that do fly it rarely put their premium cabin products onto the route.
The exception is Qantas which runs a daily A330-300 service from Sydney. All the Qantas A330-300s have recently been fitted with their latest seats – a drawn-out project that took six years. Qantas had abandoned Denpasar to Jetstar for several years, then reasonably recently deployed a 737-800 onto the route, thereafter upgrading it to the A330. Qantas’ Melbourne-Denpasar service remains a 737-800, much to the displeasure of Melbourne based Qantas loyalists.
The Qantas A330 from Sydney remains Garuda’s only real competition on its routes into Australia when it comes to wide-bodied aircraft and a decent premium cabin product. Garuda’s Australian flights are usually well priced, making them a popular option for Aussies keen to dip their toes into business class cabins but unable to stomach Qantas’ pricing.
Simple Flying has approached Garuda Indonesia for a comment but had received no response prior to publication.