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Garuda Indonesia Part 3: new domestic strategy is to slow Garuda growth, accelerate LCC Citilink

Garuda Indonesia is slowing its domestic expansion at its main full service brand while accelerating domestic expansion at the LCC subsidiary – Citilink. Garuda is considering the transfer of secondary leisure-focused domestic routes to Citilink and for the first time may start codesharing with its sister airline, which until now has focused on operating alongside Garuda on trunk routes.

The Garuda group has tweaked its domestic strategy in response to both intensifying competition from the Lion Group subsidiary Batik Air, and an overall slowdown in domestic growth. Batik is a full service airline but has impacted Citilink as its fares are generally priced only slightly above Citilink's fares, and significantly below those of Garuda. Citilink slipped back into the red in 1Q2016 after six consecutive profitable quarters.

Citilink is essentially now sandwiched between Lion, which generally has the lowest fares in Indonesia, and Batik. Garuda believes that it needs to respond by expanding Citilink rapidly, resulting in market share gains and lower unit costs as it starts to achieve better economies of scale.

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