Firefly plans hourly shuttle flights to Penang, Singapore from April 2010

Friday, May 29, 2009, 10:37 by Aviation Correspondent

Firefly, the low-cost carrier and a full subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, is planning a shuttle flight service “every other hour” to destinations such as Penang in Malaysia and Singapore, from April 2010.

Eddy Leong, managing director of Firefly, said that “very soon we will have every-other-hour departure shuttle flights” from Subang to Penang, from Subang to Singapore, and from Subang to Kota Baru. 

Eventually, the frequency could be increased up to 8 flights daily for each destination after acquiring more aircraft, Eddy Leong added. 

Meanwhile, Firefly, which claims to be Malaysia’s first community airline, will launch its Singapore service on July 1, 2009.

The first flight will take off from SkyPark Subang Terminal in Kuala Lumpur at 7:50 a.m. and land at the Changi Budget Terminal in Singapore at 9:05 a.m. 

The four daily flights on the Subang-Singapore route, according to Eddy Leong, are mainly targeted at the business community. 

The introductory fares for the Firefly Subang-Phuket flights start from RM88 per way.

Firefly’s Subang-Singapore service will be followed by other new Singapore routes, which will start in stages in July, 2009.

They are: Ipoh-Singapore (four times weekly, from July 12, 2009), Kuala Terengganu-Singapore (three times weekly, from July 14, 2009), Kuantan-Singapore (four times weekly, from July 22, 2009), and Malacca-Singapore (three times weekly, from September 1, 2009). 

Firefly will be the fourth budget airline to fly the profitable route from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, to Singapore, after AirAsia, Jetstar and Tiger Airways. 

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route is Asia’s fourth-busiest air route.

With the number of aircraft the carrier has, Firefly said it expected to fly in 150,000 passengers from Singapore in a year, and the load factor to be over 70% for its new routes to Singapore. 

Firefly has already gained approvals to fly on three more routes to Singapore – Kota Baru-Singapore, Kerteh-Singapore, and Alor Star-Singapore. These flights are expected to take off by the end of 2009. 

The new routes, Firefly’s managing director said, would complete the carrier’s ‘One Destination, Four Countries’ promotion involving Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, aimed at co-supporting tourism. 

Firefly, which planned to acquire 10 units of ATR72-500 aircraft in 2009, has delayed the delivery of 3 aircraft to 2010 in view of the current unfavourable economic situation, Eddy Leong said.  

At present, Firefly, launched in April 2007, has 6 aircraft and is expected to receive one plane in June 2009. 

The airline currently operates services to 16 destinations, including seven international and nine local destinations.

The international destinations include the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand, and Banda Aceh, Medan and Pekanbaru in Indonesia.

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