Indonesia has taken another step backwards from liberalisation with moves that benefit flag carrier Garuda at the expense of Singapore Airlines (SIA). In the latest examples, Indonesia is refusing to approve SIA’s new joint venture with Lufthansa and allow SIA to launch a new fifth freedom route from Jakarta to Sydney.
Refusing to allow SIA and Lufthansa to coordinate prices and schedules in the Indonesia-Europe market may not have a significant impact on the overall SIA-Lufthansa JV. However, it is an unfortunate move by Indonesian authorities to protect Garuda ahead of the airline's potential launch of services to Germany.
Preventing or delaying SIA from launching Jakarta-Sydney has a bigger short term impact as it leaves in place – at least for now – the Garuda and Qantas duopoly in a growing market. SIA has also been temporarily stripped of 19 weekly slot pairs at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, in another related and seemingly protectionist move.
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