The history of Garuda Indonesia is intertwined with that of the nation and the struggle for independence.
G aruda Indonesia's first flight began in 1949. The first aircraft is Dakota DC-3.
By the end of 1950, Garuda had 38 aircraft - 22 DC3s, eight Catalina seaplanes and eight Convair 240s. In 1953, the fleet grew to 46 with the addition of eight Convair 340s, and in 1954 fourteen De Havilland Herons were added. The Catalina flying boats were taken out of service in 1955.
Garuda Indonesia commenced passenger service to Bali in 1951 using Douglas Dakota DC-3 aircraft. The first Denpasar-Sydney service on Garuda Indonesia was in 1969 using Douglas DC-8 aircraft. Over the years, Bali has been consistently voted "The Best Island in the World", and the airline has played an integral role in developing Bali as an international tourist destination.
The historic Asian African Conference was held in Bandung, West Java on 19 April 1955. Garuda Indonesian Airways was the official airline for flying delegates from 29 countries, including Heads of State, into Kemayoran Airport, North Jakarta, before they took the journey to Bandung. In April 2005, the 50th Anniversary of the Asian African Conference was celebrated. Garuda Indonesia became the "Official Carrier" flying the 75 Heads of State from Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport in Jakarta to the ceremonies in Bandung including Mr Kofi Annan Secretary General of the United Nations.
In June 1956, the first Haj flight of over 40 Indonesian pilgrims to Saudia Arabia, occurred on a Convair-340 operated by Garuda Indonesia Airways. Today the airline flies over 100,000 Haj pilgrims to Jeddah from Indonesia annually.
In 1961, turbo-prop Lockheed Electras joined the fleet, enabling the launch of a service to Hong Kong.
In 1965, Garuda Indonesia was the first airline from South East Asia to offer intercontinental jet service from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Colombo, Bombay, Rome, and Prague. The flight was operated b the technologically advanced Convair 990A aircraft. The four-engine jet was the first commercial airliner to be equipped with turbofan engines. The Convair 990A still holds the record as the world's fastest sub-sonic civil airliner.
In 1969, Fokker F-27 turboprop aircraft went into service on domestic routes and two DC9s were delivered. Two jet F28s were added in 1971 and by 1980 Garuda had 24 DC9s and 33 F28s. The first of its DC10s were delivered in 1976, and the first of six Boeing 747-200s arrived in 1980. Then in 1983, came the A300 Airbuses, followed at the end of the 80s and early 90s by A300-600, B737-300s, MD11s and B737-400s.
From the early 1970's to the mid 1980's, Garuda Indonesia operated the largest fleet Fokker Fellowship F-28 twinjets in the world. At one point, the Fokker F-28 fleet consisted of 42 aircraft, including the Mk-1000 from 1971, the Mk-3000 from 1976, and the Mk-4000 the most advanced version from 1984. The F-28's ended their service on 5 April 2001 with Garuda Indonesia and transferred to Citilink, the low cost carrier of Garuda Indonesia.
Garuda Indonesia became an all jet airline in 1977, when the last of the Fokker Friendship F-27 turboprop aircraft were replaced by the Fokker Fellowship F-28 Mk-3000 twinjets. The fleet consisted of four wide-bodied Douglas DC-10 aircraft, three Douglas DC-8's, Eighteen Douglas DC-9's, and thirty two Fokker F-28's. The all jet fleet allowed Garuda Indonesia to offer a new level of comfort and reliability across the Indonesian archipelago and beyond.
In 1980 the first of Boeing B747-200 jumbo jet aircraft was delivered. By 1984 the fleet consisted of 4 Boeing 747-200's, 6 Douglas DC-10's, 9 Airbus A300-B4 (Forward Facing Crew Cockpit), 24 Douglas DC-9s and 36 Fokker Fellowship F-28.
On 21 January 1982, Garuda Indonesia was the first airline to operate an Airbus A300-B4 FFCC (Forward Facing Crew Cockpit) using a specially designed two -man analog flight deck, this was the forerunner to two-man glass cockpits used on all modern aircraft today.
In 1985 the Garuda Maintenance Facility at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and the Garuda Training Centre in West Jakarta were established.
In August 2009, Garuda Indonesia will accept delivery of the first of 50 Boeing B737-800NG (Next Generation) aircraft to meet future demands of the ever-changing travel marketplace.