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Firefly creates another milestone for the third time

The first airline to be based in Penang airport
The first to operate from Subang (after the move to KLIA)
And now the first in the history of Malaysia to fly with the latest generation of turboprop aircraft ATR72-500

Monday 11th August 2008 – Firefly, Malaysia’s community airline and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines announced the arrival of its new aircraft – ATR72-500. The aircraft was received by the Minister of Transport, Datuk Ong Tee Keat, at an event aptly named “A Time to Remember (ATR)” at Hangar 4 of MAS Complex A accompanied by the Chairman of MAS Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Chairman of Firefly and MD of MAS Dato’ Sri Idris Jala, CFO of MAS Tengku Dato’ Azmil Zahruddin bin Raja Abdul Aziz, and the MD of Firefly Eddy Leong.

Since its launch in April 2007, Firefly has been operating with three Fokker-50 turbo-propeller aircraft flying to 9 destinations out of Penang and Subang. By end of this year, Firefly would not only have received but will be fully operating five ATR72-500 and serving a total of more than 14 destinations. By August next year, Firefly would operate with a total of 10 ATR72-500 serving both domestic and regional routes.

Presently, Firefly operates directly from Subang and Penang airport. It provides a generous 20kg baggage allowance. Operating with smaller aircraft means less congestion at check-ins and baggage collection thus enhancing customer convenience satisfaction and flying experience. This convenient also includes designated allocated seating for all passengers.

The MoU between Firefly and ATR signed on the 25th of June 2007 in Rome in conjunction with our Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s visit to Europe, was witnessed by both Malaysia’s Prime Minister and the then Italy Prime Minister. The Purchase Agreement concluded on the 24th of October 2007 was for the purchase of 10 firm and 10 option of ATR72-500 aircraft for Firefly worth approximately USD366mil, based on 2007 list price of US18.3mil per aircraft.

The ATR72-500 is a cost-effective short-haul aircraft manufactured by ATR, a European joint venture between EADS and FINMENCCANICA via its subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica. Benefiting from the in-service experience of more than 670 ATR aircraft flying worldwide, it boasts proven average dispatch reliability of 99.6%.

Commenting on the first ATR 72-500 of Firefly, Stéphane Mayer, CEO of ATR stated: “We are very proud with the introduction of the first ATR aircraft in Malaysia. With its brand new ATR 72-500, Firefly will be providing an optimal comfort to its passengers, while operating the most environmental-friendly aircraft of the regional aviation.” And he added: “Equipped with the most modern technologies, the ATR 72-500 is also a very reliable and easy-to-maintain aircraft, and offers an optimal performance in the short-haul routes operated by Firefly.”

The unique features of ATR compliments Firefly business operations in terms of network coverage in the secondary routes that could not be viably served by the single-aisle jet aircraft. It consumes substantially less fuel and incurs lower operations and maintenance cost. In short, it is cost efficient. It is also very environmental friendly. These are essential and significant features for the market that Firefly serves.

“This aircraft is well suited for our business model and cost structure. With our new aircraft, passengers can look forward to better comfort, convenience and even more affordable travel”, said Eddy Leong, Firefly’s MD at the event. He also announced the launching of new routes, to Medan and Banda Aceh from Penang, and to Pekanbaru, Johor Bahru and Koh Samui from Subang, using the new aircrafts beginning October 2008. It is also presently exploring additional destinations, Medan and Haadyai from Subang.

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