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Firefly, Malindo square off on domestic routes
S Puvaneswary, Kuala Lumpur, May 20, 2013

FIREFLY will face stiff competition from Malindo Air when the latter commences twice-daily turbo-propeller operations to Penang, Johor Bahru and Kota Bharu out of Subang Skypark Terminal from June 3.


Malindo Air took delivery of its first ATR72-600 aircraft this morning with another three aircraft to be delivered next month, and a further two in September.


By December 2013, the carrier will have a total of 12 aircraft (Boeing 737-900ER) operating out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) or klia2 – if the new terminal is operational by then – and six ATR72-600 turbo-propeller aircraft, flying out of Subang.


Malindo has started selling tickets for its services to Penang, Johor Bahru and Kota Bharu, with all-in, one-way fares from RM69 (US$23).


Expecting competition from the new airline, Firefly launched its Everyday Low Fares campaign last Monday, to run for an indefinite period. However, Firely’s promotional fares appear higher than Malindo Air’s, with a one-way fare from Subang to Johor Bahru priced from RM79, Penang at RM123.95, and Kota Bharu at RM139.


Malindo CEO, Chandran Rama Muthy, said the ATR flights would initially connect Subang with secondary destinations within Peninsular Malaysia and certain points in Sumatra.


He said: “The turbo-prop operations will act as a feeder service to the jet operations, currently operating out of KLIA. We are talking to Malaysia Airports Holdings to provide public land transportation to link Subang and KLIA for the convenience of travellers.


“We are also revising upwards the (travel consultant) commission structure, which will be from three per cent of the base fare, for both jet and turbo-prop operations.”


Luxury Tours Malaysia manager, Ganneesh Ramaa, said Malindo’s new turbo-propeller services would add capacity and provide healthy competition for Firefly.


He said: “The three secondary routes – Penang, Kota Bharu and Johor Bahru – ­­are also business routes. Flying to Subang city airport will provide convenience to business travellers as it is close to Kuala Lumpur and surrounding areas. They will save on transport as compared to landing at KLIA.”

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