Arif Wibowo Appointed as Garuda Indonesia President Director



            Arif Wibowo, the president director of low cost carrier Citilink, has been appointed as president director of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia by the general shareholders meeting on Friday 12th December 2014, replacing Emirsyah Satar who resigned from his position on December 8.


            Four days before the meeting, Satar has submitted letter of resignation to the State-own Enterprises Ministry. His resignation would take effect only after it is approved by the shareholders meeting which was held at the Garuda Indonesia Office on December 12. In his letter, Emirsyah Satar did not mentioned the reason behind his resignation. “I want to take a break for a while but I will continue my position as commissioner at Bank Muamalat,” said Satar as quoted by The Jakarta Post (12/12/14).


            Emirsyah Satar, who was appointed Garuda Indonesia president director in 2005, came to the end of his second term in September 2014, but was extended until March 2015 this year to finalize the appointment of his successor. “There are a lot of things that need to be prepared by the incoming president director next year, including the ASEAN Open Sky Policy. Therefore, I decided to resign from my post now, to give more time to the new president director,” he said to Jakarta Post, a day prior to the shareholders meeting.


            Among the candidates replacing Emirsyah Satar were Arif Wibowo, president director of the low-cost unit of Garuda Indonesia’s Citilink, former Bank Mandiri president director Zulkifli Zaini, former Garuda marketing and sale director Elisa Lumbantoruan, and former president director of state telecommunication company PT Telkom, Rinaldy Firmansyah.


            “Personally, I would like to thank everyone who has entrusted me to lead this carrier. I will continue what Pak Emirsyah has done,” said Arif Wibowo.             During his tenure, Emirsyah Satar has achieved many breakthroughs with his Quantum Leap 2011-2015 Program — he was able to turn Garuda Indonesia into a profitable carrier and improved its overall services and safety. Garuda  was recognized as the World’s Best Regional Airline and the World’s Best Economy Class in 2012 and 2013 respectively, by the UK-based global airline review and ranking consultancy, Skytrax. July 2014, the carrier received a World’s Best Cabin Staff Award during the Farnborough Airshow near London. Also in 2014 was on the 7th level as The World’s Top 10 Airlines. 


In two consecutive years (2013 – 2014) New York-based APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) awarded Garuda as Best in Region: Asia and Australasia. In March 2014, Garuda Indonesia became member the prestigious Sky Team global allinces.  Closing his official term at the shareholders meeting, presented Skytrax accreditation Garuda Indonesia as a five-star airline, placing the Indonesian flag carrier along with Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Qatar Airways, Asiana Airlines, All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Hainan Airlines.


            On the occasion, Emirsyah Satar expressed optimism that Garuda Indonesia with a fleet of 194 aircraft averagely 5 years of age, will again generate profit in 2015 after incurring losses of about Rp 2.7 trillion in 2014. “Under the leadership of Pak Arif, who is also the chairman of the Indonesia Air Carrier Association (INACA), it is hope that Garuda will rebound next year and fly higher,” Satar affirmed as quoted by Antara.


Emirsyah Satar forecasted, Garuda would perform better in year 2015 following the decline in global fuel prices, where every cent of a decrease in aviation turbine fuel (avtur), Garuda can spare up to $17 million dollars in operational costs. The avtur price at end of 2014 decreased 10 cents which meant the carrier could save up to $170 million in operational costs.


            Notable during shareholders meeting, the number of seats on Garuda’s board of directors has shrunk from eight to six, comprising Arif Wibowo, Handayani, Ignatius Askhara, Heriyanto AP, Captain Novianto, and Iwan Joeniarto.


            While members of its board of commissioners were Jusman Syafei Jamal as the chief commissioner, Isa, Muzaffar Ismail, Chairul Tanjung, Doni Oskaria, and Hasan M Soedjono.


            Born on September 19, 1966, Arif Wibowo started his career in the aviation industry with the airline as an aircraft maintenance engineer from 1990 to 1994. Among various position entrusted to him were executive vice president for marketing and sales, senior general manager for Western Indonesia, senior general manager for Japan, Korea, China, and the United States. In May 2012 was trusted to lead PT Citilink Indonesia where after six months acquiring the Air Operation Certificate, conducted aggresive expansion by increasing the number of Citilink fleet with new Airbus A320 aircraft and flight services to cities in the country.


            He also paved among others cooperation with partner banks, travel insurance agencies in stengthening the company’s position in Indonesian low cost carrier segment of the aviation industry.


            Graduated from the mechanical engineering of the Sepuluh November Institute of Technology in Surabaya, East Java, Arif Wibowo also holds a master degree in management of air transportation from the University of Indonesia that cooperates with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was also named a certified professional marketer (CPM) by the Asia Marketing Federation (AMF).


            Arif Wibowo first statement as Garuda Indonesia president director, a 10 percent passengers growth target in year 2015. (ds)