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Firefly eyes 3 flights daily to Singapore

Friday March 6, 2009

It hopes to start service by second half of next year.

PETALING JAYA: FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned unit of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), hopes to fly at least three times daily to Singapore once the route is approved by the respective governments, said managing director Eddy Leong.

"We're hopeful that we can start flying to Singapore by the second half of this year," he told a press conference yesterday on Firefly's participation in MATTA Fair this year.

Firefly has applied for seven secondary routes - those that do not fly from Subang - namely Kuantan-Singapore, Malacca-Singapore, Kota Baru-Singapore, Ipoh-Singapore, Alor Star-Singapore, Kerteh-Singapore and Terengganu-Singapore. Its primary route is Subang-Singapore.

Firefly's stewardess Siew Ling (left) and Aidah Awang (right) holding placeards showing free-seat offers during Matta Fair 2009.

Routes like Penang-Singapore and Langkawi-Singapore would not be considered because they were already well served by MAS and Singapore Airlines, Leong said.

The airline also has started flying twice daily from Subang to Alor Star and Kuantan.

The airline would be receiving two additional planes in the next two months, bringing the total to seven, and would review if it should take on another three that were planned earlier.

Last year, with much less capacity and limited destinations, Firefly carried about half a million passengers. This year, it aimed to achieve 1.5 million passengers with the additional planes and expanded routes, Leong said.

Daily average load factor is about 60% to 70%. "We think it could be better when we complete the 10-network structure. We have to be cautious and focus on routes that are under-served by others," he said

By year-end, Firefly will have 10 domestic sectors and 12 regional sectors including Singapore.

Firefly was still in the red last year due to impact from fuel hedging.

"If not because of hedging, we would have been profitable," Leong said, but declined to disclose the figures.

"It wouldn't be prudent of me to say we'd be able to make money as the impact of the crisis is only unfolding. Judging from how we're doing, we won't make a lot of losses but might break even this year," he said.

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