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Firefly embarks on 5-year expansion drive

24 August, 2010

FIREFLY, the low-cost carrier owned by Malaysia Airlines, appears to have revealed its ambition to fly as far as China, India and Taiwan.

On Saturday, it put out a full-page advertisement in an English daily to fill positions for pilots with ATR and Boeing 737 experience to be based at Subang Airport and KLIA.

It was also looking for flight and ground operations staff as well as those in engineering, commercial and support services.

"Having been in operation for several years, we are now embarking on a very aggressive expansion plan over the next five years," the advertisement read.

"We provide exclusive routes to various points within Peninsula Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

"Our future destinations include Sabah and Sarawak, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, China, India, Taiwan and many more."

Although Firefly did not identify itself in the ad, the advertiser described itself as a leading regional airline wholly-owned by a public-listed company with a majority shareholding by the government.

Meanwhile, Firefly yesterday said it has submitted its application to relevant authorities for the expansion of its operations.

"We will furnish more information once the approvals are obtained," FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Eddy Leong told Business Times.

He was responding to questions following a Business Times report that parent company MAS is set to allow Firefly to operate its B737-400 aircraft to Sabah by the end of this year.

Firefly is also in talks with Sabah tourism authorities.

MAS has 36 B737-400 aircraft, which are due to exit from service by 2014.

Firefly now operates the ATR 72-500 turbopropeller servicing routes in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia from its two hubs at the Penang and Subang airports.

Sources said that both Firefly and MAS will operate the Sabah routes, with Firefly flying out of the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.

It is now learnt that Sarawak is also likely to be on Firefly's radar as talks have started this week in Kuching between Firefly staff and the local tourism officials.

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