KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 12): Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd (MAG) subsidiary Firefly Airlines will start narrow-body jet operations next month (January 2021) from its northern hub in Penang to Kota Kinabalu (KK), Kuching and Johor Bahru (JB) as part of MAG’s strategy to respond to Covid-19 pandemic-driven challenges in the global aviation industry.
TTG Asia, quoting Firefly chief executive officer Philip See, reported yesterday (Dec 11) that FireFly, which currently only operates turbo-propeller service in the form of ATR-72 500 aircraft, will start its narrow-body jet operations with twice-daily services between Penang and KK and Kuching, and thrice-daily services between Penang and JB.
"These services will be operated with a trio of Boeing 737-800 narrow body jets using excess aircraft from sister company, Malaysia Airlines (Bhd),” TTG Asia reported, quoting See, who was speaking at the fifth edition of [email protected], a two-day virtual conference organised by the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau.
See said: “Penang (as a northern hub for jet services) is a great place to start because it has a great mixture of leisure and corporate business.”
It was reported that [email protected] commenced on Thursday (Dec 10).
It was reported that See said Firefly flights will be code shared with Malaysia Airlines and customers can accrue and redeem Enrich points.
Enrich is the frequent flyer programme of Malaysia Airlines, according to MAG’s website.
"In terms of product differentiation, Firefly will offer low-cost carrier products where guests can select their desired products and services,” TTG Asia reported.
It was reported that See described Firefly’s business model as a “DIY (do it yourself) concept”, while at the same time, guests will also enjoy full benefits of being part of MAG.
MAG had initially on Oct 15, 2020 announced the commencement of jet operations for Firefly beginning the first quarter of 2021 as part of MAG’s strategy to respond to Covid-19 pandemic-driven challenges within the aviation industry.
In a statement then, MAG said 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.
"With this plan, Firefly will be complementing sister company, Malaysia Airlines, 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 Malaysia Airlines. This gives Malaysia Airlines room to focus on its network serving the premium market,” MAG said.
See said in the statement that the world has evolved so much since the Covid-19 pandemic started and as an airline group, MAG must embrace those changes and adapt to 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,” he said.
Malaysia sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd owns MAG, which is an entity under Khazanah’s Strategic Fund (SF), according to Khazanah’s website.
Khazanah, which also has a Commercial Fund (CF), said Khazanah pursues its overall mandate through a two-fund investment structure.
"The two funds, the CF and the SF, are established with distinct objectives, policies and strategies, and are to be managed separately via separate investment management divisions,” Khazanah said.