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FIREFLY Completes Fleet Change to ATR 72-500

Home » About » Media Room » News Releases » 2008 » Firefly Completes Fleet Change To Atr 72 500

Subang, 21st December 2008.

Firefly announced today in an event today held at Hangar 1, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport that it has completed the fleet change to 5 brand new ATR 72-500 with the arrival of its 5th ATR, 9M FYE, on Monday 15th December 2008 from Toulouse. The event was to mark farewell to its last Fokker-50, 9M-MGI, which has served Firefly faithfully since the start of its operation in April 2007.

"It is indeed a historical yet emotional day for us at Firefly. We are happy and proud to announce that effective tomorrow, Firefly is now FULLY on the brand new ATR 72-500. At the same time we are equally emotional to bid farewell to our Fokker-50s – the aircrafts that we served us well during the initial startup stage," remarked Eddy Leong, Managing Director of Firefly.

Background of Firefly's Fokker-50

  • The Fokker-50 was first inducted into Malaysia Airlines ("MAS") in 1989 and it was the main 'work horse' for the Rural Air Services ("RAS") in Sabah and Sarawak.
  • In 2002, MAS sold and leased back all 10 of its Fokker 50 to Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad ("PMB") under the Widespread Asset Unbundling exercise ("WAU").
  • In 2006, the Domestic Rationalization exercise resulted in operations of RAS being transferred to a third party airline. The airline took over 7 of the Fokker 50, leaving the remaining 3 grounded.
  • The third party airline eventually operated the RAS for only 8 months before the operations was transferred back to MAS, under its newly formed subsidiary MASWings.

Firefly brought life to the 3 Grounded Fokker-50s

  • During the period where 3 of the Fokker 50 were grounded, MAS initiated a "gaining new business" initiative under its Business Turnaround Plan ("BTP") which saw MAS purchased 2 of the grounded Fokker 50 to setup a new subsidiary airline, Firefly.
  • Firefly started operations on 2 April 2007 with the 2 Fokker 50 (9M-MGI and 9M-MGK), which it leased from MAS.
  • Firefly obtained its 3rd Fokker 50, 9M-MGD, through a sublease from MASWings in December 2007.
  • 9M-MGD was returned to MASwings on 3 September 2008.
  • 9M-MGK was returned to Malaysia Airlines on the 30 September 2008, now sold.
  • 9M-MGI, the last remaining Fokker 50 will be returned to MAS on 31 December 2008.
  • On its return to MAS on 31 Dec 08, 9M-MGI would have done a total of 37,598 flight hours and 54,480 landings. It would have carried a total of 1.63 million passengers, burnt 19,550 tons of aviation kerosene and wearing out 990 main wheel tyres.

Fokker-50 features

  • Back in 1989, the then new Fokker 50 came with state-of-the-art avionics and the new PW125B engines.
  • They were more reliable, more silent (due to its 6 bladed propellers) and were more fuel efficient compared to its predecessor, the Fokker 27.
  • In addition, it came with an onboard Auxiliary Power Unit which supplies electricity and air-conditioning while aircraft was on transit.
  • The Fokker 50 was an icon for many who grew up in Sabah and Sarawak, where it provides the only air links between major cities and settlements in the interiors. One of them is the Managing Director of MAS, Dato' Sri Idris Jala, who as a kid dreamt of flying away to new horizon with the Fokker 50. How true this dream turns out to be.

Background of Firefly's ATR72-500

The Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of 10 firm and 10 option ATR72-500, valued at USD 366 mil (based on 2007 list price of US18.3mil per aircraft), between Firefly and ATR was signed on the 25 June 2007 in Rome witnessed by both the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Italy. The Purchase Agreement was eventually concluded in October 2007 and the official signing featured during the LIMA Air Show in December 2007, witnessed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport of Malaysia.

The ATR 72-500 is the critical component fueling Firefly's aggressive network expansion in 2008 and 2009. This 72-seat aircraft with unique handling capabilities best suits Firefly's network of secondary routes that could not be viably served by the conventional single-aisle jet aircraft. Its standards-beating environmental features in terms of carbon and noise emission also permit its operations into city airports, such as the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang.

"From a passenger experience standpoint, this new generation turboprop aircraft presents to the passengers leapfrog experience of luxury, comfort and silence. Firefly's ATR is equipped with state-of-the-art cabin interior, 2-abreast leather covered seating featuring a revolutionary comfortable seat with ample leg room and modern acoustic technology that drastically reduces cabin vibration and noise", Eddy Leong highlighted.

He added: "Compared to the Fokker 50, the 72-seat ATR gave us 44% additional revenue capacity whilst reducing operating cost by as much as 20%, especially on fuel and maintenance. Consequently on 16 December 2008, we have decided to remove fuel surcharge for all our flights."

Firefly now operates 5 brand new ATR72-500 and will receive another 5 by August 2009.

All of Firefly's ATR72-500s arrived on time in 2008:

Reg Serial No. Delivery Fly Away Arrived Subang First Service
FYA 812 04 – 07 Aug 08 Aug 11 Aug 19 Aug
FYB 814 25 – 29 Aug 29 Aug 01 Sept 05 Sept
FYC 821 15 – 19 Sept 19 Sept 22 Sept 27 Sept
FYD 830 20 – 24 Oct 24 Oct 27 Oct 31 Oct
FYE 840 08 – 12 Dec 12 Dec 15 Dec 20 Dec

Forecasted arrival schedule in 2009 for the remaining 5 ATR72-500s:

Reg Arrival
FYF April
FYH June
FYI July
FYJ August

Fokker 50 Pilots

The event ended with presentation of appreciation awards to Firefly's Fokker-50 pilots of which some will be retiring, some will be returning to Malaysia Airlines and some will be converted to Firefly's ATR pilots. They are:

Ref Name Last Position Held Notes
1. Captain Roland Thomas Head of Flight Operations Retiring
2. Captain Rozman Hj Mohd Shukri Chief Pilot – F50 MAS Secondee
3. Captain Ahmad Redhuan Mohamad Marzuki Chief Pilot Safety, Training & Standards MAS Secondee
4. Captain Kok Wai Kit Captain – F50 MAS Secondee
5. Captain Soo Siew Pong Captain – F50 MAS Secondee
6. FO Awangku Abdul Hariz Pengiran Hj Abu Bakar First Officer Royal Brunei Airlines Secondee
7. FO Awangku Mohamed Nazmi Pengiran Hj Sabtu First Officer Royal Brunei Airlines Secondee
8. FO Chang Shu Yong First Officer Firefly's Co-Pilot
9. FO Hj Jose AR Rahimin Hj Abdul Rahim First Officer Firefly's Co-Pilot