Indonesia's flagship airline firm Garuda Indonesia signed on Tuesday an agreement to procure 35 ATR 72-600 turboprop planes, designated to serve flights in remote islands in eastern part of the country, would eventually support the government's infrastructure development acceleration programs (MP3EI).
The signing of procurement contract was conducted by Garuda Indonesia President Director Emirsyah Satar, Chief Executive Officer of ATR (Avions de Transport Regional) Filippo Bagnato and Chairman of Denmark-based leasing and financing firm Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) Martin Moller.
Emirsyah said that operation of those ATR 72-600 planes to serving the flights in eastern Indonesian region is part of Garuda Indonesia's commitment to improving national connectivity and is an effort to develop transportation network in areas projected as new growth centers in the eastern region.
"This business expansion is in line with government's efforts in opening new airstrips in eastern region, particularly in areas regarded as centers of new growth and tourist destinations ones in the region," Emirsyah said.
He said that the initial delivery of two planes will be conducted next month with total deliveries expected to be completed in 2017.
He added that the plane suits with characteristic of airstrips in eastern Indonesia region that mostly have short runways. According to Emirsyah the plane is able to take off and landing in airstrip with runway of 1,600 meters.
The plane is designated to serve flights to several cities in Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua, East and West Nusa Tanggara.
Garuda earned Passenger Choice Award last month, provided by New York-based association APEX that promotes flight service improvement.
Garuda now operated 106 planes from various types. It planned to procure several new passenger planes that comprised of Airbus A320-330, Airbus A330-300, Boeing 737-800 NG, and Boeing 777-300 ER. It was part of its fleet enhancement program called Quantum Leap targeting to operate 194 planes by 2015.