Air Transport World

'Beyond Bali': Garuda's changing image. (Garuda Indonesia) (Company Profile)

A saying goes that nothing is more valuable than a good reputation and nothing more difficult to get rid of than a bad one. After a decade of trying, Garuda Indonesia finally is ridding itself of its reputation for poor service and erratic operations and is rebuilding its image as a world-class airline.

Prior to the mid-1980s, the airline's reputation basically was that of a third-world carrier. Its operations, on-time performance and level of passenger service were best described as, well, casual.

The deservedly poor image was projected both at home and internationally. Despite--or perhaps because of--being a discount carrier aimed at the "back packer trade, it lost money regularly, reportedly around $600 million in the 1978-87 period.

However, the government's decision in the early l980s to open up Indonesia as a major southeast Asia center for both tourism and business pushed the airline into getting its act together.

Under the leadership of its former president, Mohammad Soeparno, Garuda physically changed its appearance, opened new routes, revamped its passenger service, restructured its operations and started presenting itself as a truly international airline (ATW, 6/92).

"Garuda was seeking a symbol which, in conjunction with the rest of the identity program, would signal a major change throughout the airline industry and among their employees," the company said.

The appointment of new management in 1984 resulted in a reassessment of core values, with new focus to be placed on wooing and supporting the tourism industry.

In April, 1985, Landor Assoc. …

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