Garuda Indonesia on the brink of closure?
A court reprieve for Garuda Indonesia has failed to quell media speculation the Indonesian government is preparing to close the financially crippled flag carrier with state-owned air charter company, Pelita Air Service. Read More » Recent media reports have cited government plans to convert Pelita into a full service carrier that can replace Garuda on domestic services. Over the weekend, The Jakarta Globe cited Kartiko Wirjoatmodjo, a deputy for the minister for state owned enterprises, saying the government was prepared to liquidate Garuda if debt restructuring negotiations with lenders and aircraft lessors were unsuccessful. “If we meet a dead-end, we will close [Garuda] down because injecting more state money is impossible given the company’s massive debt loads,” Karitiko was quoted as telling Antara News. The official also raised doubts Garuda could operate long-haul flights if its financial position stabilised. Garuda’s debt is about $US4.9 billion and government officials have expressed concern about issues such as high aircraft leasing costs. The flag carrier received a reprieve last week when an Indonesian court dismissed a case in which creditor, My Indo Airlines, was attempting to force a restructure. A Garuda spokesman said after the court ruling it would continue to focus its efforts on restructuring as it endeavoured to ensure passenger and cargo operations ran normally. The company said in a stock exchange statement posted on October 18 it had received no official information about recovery options being canvassed by the media. It contended the focus of Garuda’s recovery strategy was improving the company’s financial performance and looking at its long-term business model.