Garuda Indonesia CEO sacked over alleged motorbike smuggling on delivery flight

Photo: © Ikko Haidar Farozy

Indonesian flag-carrier Garuda Indonesia has sacked its Chief Executive Officer I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra (Ari Askhara) and other directors over a motorbike that was allegedly smuggled on board an aircraft.

Reuters reported on Thursday that the airline will get rid of its CEO following the alleged Harley-Davidson smuggling that happened in November. It was not immediately clear when he will leave his post and who would take up Askhara’s position. According to local sources, Fuad Rizal, who currently serves as Chief Financial Officer for Garuda will temporarily lead the airline.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Transport Ministry would put a fine on Garuda for carrying illegal cargo on board a non-commercial flight, state-owned news agency Antara reports. The disassembled motorbike was discovered on Tuesday, officials say.

The flight in question was the delivery flight of Garuda Indonesia’s first Airbus A330-900neo on November 16th. The brand new aircraft is registered as PK-GHE and flew nonstop from Toulouse in France to the Indonesian capital Jakarta, where it arrived on November 17th.

Garuda Indonesia has a total of 14 Airbus A330-900neo long-haul aircraft on order, to replace some of its older A330s. The airline also operates ten Boeing 777-300ER on long-haul flights. Its now-fired CEO was reportedly also interested in ordering an unknown quantity of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. However, no deal has been announced so far.