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Indonesian Airline Apologizes

June 12, 2000

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ For years air travelers have complained about lousy service offered by Garuda Indonesia airlines.

Now, the state-owned carrier is thanking disgruntled customers for their comments.

``The greatest gift you presented to us is your expression of disappointment with Garuda Indonesia’s services,″ the airline said in a full-page advertisement published Monday in The Jakarta Post newspaper.

``Over the years, passengers have experienced dissatisfaction with our negligence, and services that have not been satisfactory ... we are not surprised to have received so many complaints,″ said the advertisement, which featured a picture of an overflowing complaint box.

Garuda Indonesia was admitting past mistakes to convince customers that it was trying hard to improve service, said Pudjobroto, vice president for corporate communications.

``We do have a lot of problems,″ he said. ``But Garuda is committed to change.″

Pudjobroto, who like many Indonesians uses one name, said the carrier was renowned for being late and for bumping confirmed passengers off overbooked flights.

It also has a poor safety record.

In 1996, a Garuda DC-10 skidded off a runway in southern Japan before bursting into flames, killing three people and injuring 170.

A year later, 234 people were killed when a Garuda Airbus A-300 crashed into jungle while trying to land on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.

In the advertisement, Garuda, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in January, apologized for its shortcomings and promised to improve ``our professionalism by giving you an enjoyable, pleasant, and on-time flight.″

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