Firefly to commence jet operations at Penang airport in 1Q21

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 15): Malaysia Aviation Group’s (MAG) subsidiary Firefly Airlines will commence jet operations from the first quarter of 2021, as it realigns its strategy to better suit the current environment and post-Covid-19. 

Firefly will be adding up to 10 narrow body jets to its fleet in phases, serving the domestic, Asean and Asia Pacific markets out of Penang International Airport, MAG said in a statement today. 

“Based on available forecasts, domestic and short haul travel will be most preferred in the current environment, hence it makes commercial sense for Firefly to supply this demand but from the northern region,” said MAG group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail. 

“This is in line with the group’s enhanced Long-Term Business Plan (LTBP 2.0), which has been realigned to suit the current and future environment post Covid-19, with a focus on strengthening the revenue streams of each subsidiary,” he said. 

With this plan, Firefly will be complementing sister company Malaysia Airlines Bhd in serving the leisure market, while diversifying its base connecting secondary cities in Malaysia to East Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. 

It will leverage on available resources and talents from within MAG, with the possibility of deploying the Boeing 737-800 aircraft from MAB, which gives MAB room to focus on its network serving the premium market. 

Firefly CEO Philip See said: “The world has evolved so much since Covid-19, and as airlines, we must embrace those changes and adapt to the market needs and wants.  

“Firefly is ready to carry that challenge, as we see strong potential in this dual hub strategy, while maintaining our turbo propeller service out of Subang Skypark, serving the mix of corporate and leisure travellers.”  

With the new jet operations, MAG said Firefly will offer a flexible service concept — with product unbundling to suit the leisure focused and price-sensitive customers, providing a more significant value proposition. 

It added that passengers will continue to enjoy the privileges and services like a premium carrier including a complimentary 20kg checked baggage allowance, as well as the opportunity to accrue and redeem Enrich points with an option to add other privileges such as seat selection and insurance coverage. 

MAG said the setup of Firefly’s Penang hub jet operations requires minimal investment in 2021, with an expected increase in production, measured in average seat per kilometre (ASK), by 36% over the next five years. 

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S Kanagaraju