Garuda Indonesia traces its beginning to the late 1940s, when Indonesia was locked in a battle against the Dutch. At this time, Garuda flew special transports with DC-3 airplanes.
January 26 of 1949 is generally recognized as the airline's birthday. At that time, the airline was known as Garuda Indonesian Airways. Their first plane was known as Seulawah or Gold Mountain. The airline kept performing in support of the Indonesian interests until the revolution against the Dutch was over.
The government of Burma helped the airline much during the airline's beginnings. Because of that, after the airline was incorporated as a company on March 31, 1950, the airline presented the Burmese government with a DC-3.
The 1960s were times of great progress for the airline: In 1961, a route was opened to Kai Tak International Airport in Hong Kong and in 1965, the jet age arrived, with a DC-8 that was used to fly to Schiphol Airport in Haarlemmeer, Netherlands, Europe.
In the 1990s, Garuda suffered plane crashes, and the airline went through a period of economical distress. However, the airline has favourably recovered from those problems and seems to be in good economic shape entering the middle 2000s.