Garuda Indonesia has signed a new deal with Japan Airlines (JAL) which would open up more options for Garuda customers for travel to the United States.

In a strategic agreement signed on September 6, both Garuda and JAL will start offering codeshare flights on October 28 with select routes on both airlines’ combined network to/from Japan and Indonesia. In addition to codeshare flights and bookings from both airlines, the deal will also allow Garuda to offer codeshare flights to New York and Los Angeles via Tokyo-Narita.

The agreement will cover cities such as Jakarta, Denpasar, Surabaya and Yogyakarta in Indonesia. In Japan, the cities covered are Tokyo, Fukuoka, Nagoya and Chitose (Sapporo).

The deal opens up more options for Garuda, as it has made attempts to start its own flights to the United States. However, Garuda’s efforts have been hampered by financial constraints and the inability to obtain landing slots for a needed stopover in a Japanese airport.

Garuda currently has code-sharing deals with Delta and China Airlines on flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Garuda Indonesia President and CEO Pahala N. Mansury said: “We are pleased to announce this partnership with JAL which will further extend our network not only to Japan, but also to US. Japan is one of important market for Indonesia and through this partnership we can offer more travel options for the increasing number of passengers traveling between the two countries and beyond Japan. At the same time, the partnership is expected to boost trade and tourism activities by making Indonesia much more accessible for Japan visitors.”

Both airlines seek to gain much from the rising demand for travel between Japan and Indonesia, which involves both tourist and business travel. For JAL, it will open up a new option for business travelers heading to Indonesia with Garuda’s Jakarta-Tokyo (Haneda) flights.

"More than 1,500 Japanese companies have expanded their business in Indonesia. No doubt Indonesia is a very attractive market for our industry," said JAL Executive Vice President Tadashi Fujita. He added that as demand for travel between the Asia and the US increases, JAL hopes to increase its market share with its partnership with Garuda.

The new codeshare agreement could be seen as a stepping stone for a joint-venture, which JAL alluded to in its press release. This would question the existing partnership between Garuda and All Nippon Airways (ANA), JAL’s main rival, which started in 2014. That partnership covers flight connections to domestic destinations served by both carriers within Indonesia and Japan.

As Garuda has been restructuring its operations to save on costs, codeshare partnerships could be the way for the airline to expand its network. After its announcement to end its Jakarta-London services, Garuda could expand its partnership with KLM on connections within Europe with its Jakarta-Amsterdam flights.

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