Garuda Indonesia CEO to be sacked over smuggled Harley Davidson

Alex Erofeenkov,

Ari Askhara, the CEO of Garuda Indonesia, is facing the prospect of being sacked from the job. In November 2019, the airline celebrated the arrival of a brand new Airbus A330-900 ‒ a brand new type in its fleet. But Askhara has allegedly used the delivery flight to bring a little something for himself ‒ a Harley Davidson motorcycle, as well as two high-end bikes.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir told the media on December 5, 2019, that he plans to dismiss Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra (Ari Askhara), current CEO of the state-owned airline. “I will dismiss the Garuda president director and the process will be in accordance with regulated procedures,” Thohir is quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post. 

Askhara has allegedly used the airline to smuggle a Harley Davidson motorcycle and two  high-end Brompton folding bikes into the country. The damage by unpaid customs duties for luxury items could be reaching up to $106,000 (1.5 billion rupiah). 

The discovery of the high-end contraband was reportedly made by Indonesia’s customs officials in November 2019 after Garuda’s new Airbus A330 arrived from France on a delivery flight. Flight documents showed that aircraft was supposed to be only carrying the airline’s executives and employees.

Garuda Indonesia operates a fleet of 145 aircraft, including 26 Airbus A330s, data shows. The airline has just recently taken deliveries of its first two A330-900s: one of them (featuring a “Great experience with A330-900neo” sticker) arrived in November 2019, the other one in December 2019.

Askhara was appointed Garuda Indonesia CEO in September 2018. He replaced Pahala N. Mansury, who also lasted in the role just around the year (from April 2017 to September 2018). 

Updated on December 6, 2019: the title and cover image were changed, information updated in the first, third and the last paragraphs. 

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