Monday, 5 December 2011

Citilink, the Best Indonesian Budget Airline for 2011/2012

This award is given to the leading Indonesian low budget scheduled airlines company providing air services for passenger generally with a recognized operation certificate license. Four airlines are nominated for this award, namely Citilink, Indonesia Air Asia, Sriwijaya Air, and Batavia Air. The awarding process is determined by both online votes by traveller, and an advisory board. There are also other categories, such as city hotels, hotel chains, and resorts included in the Indonesia Travel Tourism Awards 2011/2012.

Funnily enough, last year’s winner Mandala Airlines have gone bust with debt problems after forced to temporarily stop their flights on 11 January 2011. What then makes Citilink different from its less than illustrious past winner?
Many people outside of Indonesia may not have heard of it, but the airline certainly has a firm base. Citilink is a budget airline under a joint management with Indonesia’s flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia. This pairing is somewhat like that of Qantas and Jetstar in Australia. One caters to those flying in comfort, the other caters to people preferring no-frills for a cheaper price.

Garuda Maintenance Facilities
There are of course huge benefits that come with its association with Garuda. Firstly, unlike Sriwijaya Air, it is exempted from the blanket ban prohibiting Indonesian airlines from flying in EU airspace, together with Garuda, Indonesia Air Asia, and Batavia, (not to mention the now defunct Mandala). Citilink utilises Garuda’s Garuda Maintenance Facility Aero Asia (GMFAA) in Cengkareng, Jakarta, which is a top-notch facility compared to other Indonesian airlines. Unlike its counterparts, its flights do have a high chance of being on time. This is a huge bonus compared to airlines like Lion Air with its especially chronic delays in the afternoons.

Despite those perks, tickets booked in advance much cheaper than Garuda, and like in many other Indonesian budget airlines, free baggage allowance is included (20 kg for Citilink). A selection of food and drinks may also be ordered on board, or when booking.
My only peeve is that it does not have any routes to my hometown (yet), so I haven’t really have the chance to utilise it that much. Its flight hub was primarily in Surabaya, going to cities like Batam, Makassar, Balikpapan, etc, with some flights from Jakarta too.
Citilink’s fleet now consists of Boeing 737 series, both Boeing 737-300 (148 seater) and Boeing 737-400 (170 seat)
Citilink Fleet
However, last month the Jakarta Post reports that they have ordered new A320s to prepare for the ever-increasing demand for budget airlines.

Quoting the news:
“By having 10 new Airbus aircraft next year and adding more flights, we are expecting 4 million passengers to fly with Citilink next year,”
Elisa Lumbantoruan, the vice president of Citilink and executive president of finances for Garuda Indonesia told The Jakarta Post during the Indonesia Travel and Tourism Awards 2011/2012 in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta.
"In order to take the advantage of the surging demand for budget airlines, the airline will add three more routes next year, which will link Jakarta and Yogyakarta, Jakarta and Pekanbaru and Jakarta and Palembang.”

Current Citilink Routes

View Citilink Routes in a larger map

Still no flight to Semarang, but they fly to many other cities too!
Awarding the best, inspiring the rest. Hopefully ITTA 2011/2012 can inspire other airlines to emulate Citilink’s success too.

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