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Indonesia's Garuda, JAL sign comprehensive code-share pact

JAKARTA (Kyodo) -- PT Garuda Indonesia signed a strategic partnership with Japan Airlines Co. on Thursday under which Indonesia's flag carrier will be able to add more routes to the United States via Narita airport.

Under the agreement, the two airlines will from Oct. 28 offer code-share flights on select routes between Japan and Indonesia as well as on domestic flights operated by each company. Garuda will also offer code-share flights on select trans-Pacific routes operated by JAL.

"The partnership between Garuda Indonesia and Japan Airlines surely marks another strategic step, which will greatly benefit the customers of both airlines by providing more travel options between the two countries," said Garuda CEO Pahala Mansury.

"Japan is one of the important markets for Indonesia...The partnership is expected to boost trade and tourism activities by making Indonesia much more accessible for Japan visitors," he added.

The Indonesian government is targeting 20 million foreign tourists to visit the country by 2019.

Garuda will serve as a marketing carrier for JAL on routes between Narita and Jakarta, Narita and New York, and Narita and Los Angeles. JAL's domestic flights covered by the agreement are those between Haneda and New Chitose, Haneda and Nagoya-Chubu, and Haneda and Fukuoka.

On the other side, JAL will be a marketing carrier for Garuda for routes connecting Jakarta and Haneda, Bali's Denpasar and Narita as well as domestic routes between Jakarta and Yogyakarta as well as Jakarta and Surabaya.

JAL Executive Vice President Tadashi Fujita echoed Mansury's remarks, saying Indonesia "is a very attractive market for our industry."

Fujita also revealed that the partnership with Garuda will not stop only on the code-share cooperation, saying, "We will discuss a joint business in the future to kick off" in their respective markets.

Asked whether the agreement with JAL will have any impact on Garuda's comprehensive partnership pact with JAL's domestic rival All Nippon Airways Co., Mansury said Garuda "will continue for the time being to have the two partnerships."

"We are opening an additional option because Japan is still one among some countries with the biggest number of tourists visiting Indonesia and Japan is also one of the main destinations of Indonesian tourists to visit," he said.

An ANA executive who was asked for comment said the airline "will continue to keep our good relationship with Garuda in the future."

Last year, Garuda had to postpone its plan to fly to the United States after the Japanese government refused to grant the airline approval to carry passengers between Narita and the United States.

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