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Indonesia's Garuda airline to return to Europe next year

Jakarta - Garuda Indonesia is to return to Europe after an absence of five years with a daily flight to Amsterdam starting June 1, the national airline said Wednesday.

The planned Jakarta-Amsterdam route via Dubai is to be followed by service to a number of European cities, such as Frankfurt, Paris and London, over the next few years, Garuda said.

 "We have set an aggressive five-year growth strategy for the airline that will allow Garuda to take its place alongside other leading international airlines in the Asia-Pacific region," Garuda President Emirsyah Satar said in the statement.

 In July, the European Union removed Garuda and three other Indonesian airlines from a list of carriers banned from entering European airspace.

 The blanket ban on Indonesian airlines was imposed in 2007 after a spate of deadly accidents that raised concerns about the country's safety standards.

 Garuda's Jakarta-Amsterdam route is to be flown by Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which have the capacity to carry 222 passengers, the statement said.

 Garuda said it has 10 Boeing 777-300ERs aircraft on order for delivery starting in 2011.

 The new aircraft would allow the airline to operate non-stop from Jakarta into Europe, it said.//dpa


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