Garuda To Modify Planes To Carry More Cargo

April 9, 2012

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Garuda Indonesia plans to boost its cargo capacity by modifying existing passenger jets to tap the growing demand it sees for air cargo services, its chief executive said on Monday.

"Not only passenger traffic will go up there, and but also cargo goods," Garuda CEO Emirsyah Satar told reporters in Singapore, referring to traffic between Indonesia's fast-growing regions.

With more investments going into Indonesia, there is also greater potential for international air cargo services, he added.

"For the time being we will develop the belly," he said, referring to the Indonesian flag carrier's passenger planes that can be modified to carry a larger amount of cargo.

Garuda does not operate standalone cargo aircraft but has three Airbus A330 freighters on order. Satar said the freighters are scheduled to be delivered at the end of 2013.

Garuda said earlier this year it would go ahead with a plan to boost its fleet size by more than 50 percent in three years, despite the threat of overcapacity arising from rival Lion Air's order of 230 short-haul 737 jets from Boeing.

The Lion Air deal was the largest-ever commercial order received by the US plane maker.