Garuda Indonesia create new hub in Bintan Island

SINGAPORE - Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is developing a new hub in Bintan island, off Singapore, to augment its domestic network in one of the world's fastest-growing airline markets.

Garuda is partnering Singapore-listed Gallant Venture Ltd to build the infrastructure for the 177-ha site in Bintan, it said on Tuesday at the Singapore Airshow.

This will include a new airport and runway, which will be dedicated to Garuda's operations. The carrier will also have a new maintenance centre in Bintan.

"This new operation will help strengthen Garuda's network development, with a potential to connect East Indonesia and West Indonesia, and become the meeting point for our international flights to Europe and the Far East," Garuda president Emirsyah Satar told a news conference.

Bintan will become the airline's fourth hub in Indonesia after the capital Jakarta, Denpasar in Bali, and Makassar in Sulawesi.

Garuda's plans come after rival Lion Air, a low-cost carrier, opened a new aircraft hangar in January on Batam island, which is located near Bintan.

Lion also plans to make Batam its second hub outside Jakarta.

Indonesian carriers have been looking to find new airline and maintenance hubs in the country, bypassing Jakarta's over-crowded Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Satar added that he is still finalising plans to order up to 250 planes, to effectively double its fleet to 350-400 aircraft by 2025. The carrier is assessing a variety of aircraft including Airbus A330s and A350s and the Boeing 787.