Good news for travellers bound for Indonesia: Garuda Indonesia is adding four Jakarta-Sydney return flights to its weekly schedule. The airline will use its Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route, in Executive (business) and economy class. Total flight time is just under eight hours.
Garuda, Indonesia's national airline, has extensive connections throughout the country that make it a decent choice for business travellers who need to reach outlying areas. Elsewhere in Australia, Garuda also flies from Melbourne and Perth to Jakarta.
The new Executive class, with fully flat beds, receives good reviews from travellers. A fully flat bed -- as opposed to the more widespread slope beds, which are on an angle -- is a welcome addition to southeast Asian skies. Cabin layout on the A330 is 2-2-2, with a roomy 74 inch/188 cm seat pitch between rows.
Miles can be earned on partner Malaysia Airlines' Enrich programme. Assuming everything goes to plan with Garuda joining the SkyTeam alliance in 2012, expect further reciprocal arrangements.
Previously a troubled airline that had been banned from the EU (along with all other Indonesian airlines), Garuda seems to be turning things around. Following a cash restructuring at the end of 2010, the airline recently announced an IPO, and studies are underway to improve its hub at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta international airport.