Penang (17 March 2007): Firefly, Malaysia’s first community airline, is expected to achieve profits next year by tapping into a potential customer base of 100 million in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle.
Managing Director, Mr Eddy Leong said Firefly would be able to capture the growing budget travelers market in the north and east coast points of the Peninsula, and southern Thailand as the airline flies to 6 destinations that are currently not served by any other airline.
In addition, it is the only airline connecting 3 popular tourist destinations, Penang, Koh Samui and Phuket, enabling it to expand its reach to the foreign travelers market.
He said, “Firefly will be a profitable venture as we work from a low-cost base. We are a no-frills airline, offering point-to-point travel with fares from as low as RM9.00. Firefly is about taking people off the roads, ferries and boats, and getting them to their destinations faster.
“Our aim is to bring communities closer by overcoming geographical constraints, link the world to the communities we serve, and contribute to the economy of the communities by bringing trade and tourism”.
Commencing Monday, 2 April, Firefly will offer 14 weekly flights to Kota Bahru, Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu, Langkawi and 7 weekly flights to Phuket and Koh Samui, from Penang. To commemorate the occasion, Firefly will offer more than 2,000 free seats for the month of April.
Bookings will start Monday, 19 March. Tickets can be purchased from its 24-hour call centre, 03-7845 4543 and MAS’ ticketing office in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, KLIA, Kota Bahru, Terengganu, Kuantan and Langkawi. Tickets will be available on its website, www.fireflyz.com.my from mid May.
Malaysia Airlines Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr Idris Jala said Malaysia Airlines is excited about this new venture as Firefly, its wholly-owned subsidiary, presents the national carrier with the opportunity to grow from a new market segment.
“Our aim this year is to generate profit, and achieve profitable growth in 2008. One of the ways to achieve our objective is to gain new businesses. Firefly will enable us to grow from a new market segment.
“MAS is now in a stronger position as it is able to grow its full service passenger market, and tap into the budget traveler market. We expect Firefly to boost our revenue, and help us meet our net profit of RM500 million next year,” he also said.
“Firefly is also our nursery. Our aim is to run Malaysia Airlines on a low cost structure to ensure our competitiveness in the long term. We aim to adopt the key learnings from Firefly, allowing us to further simplify processes, multi-task and implement a thorough structural cost reduction,” he added.
Earlier at the media briefing, Mr Jala introduced Mr Leong, 34, to the journalists.
“Eddy is a familiar face in the airline industry. He was formerly with our Turnaround Management Office which oversees all turnaround initiatives and provides in-house consultancy to the business units. He has extensive operational experience, and is focused on the P&L which makes him the ideal man to lead a low cost based airline,” he said.
Later in the evening, Chief Minister of Penang, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Minister of Finance II, Senator Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop unveiled the Firefly logo which is symbolized by firefly wings in four colours ranging from deep orange to yellow.
The name Firefly (in Mandarin fei1 ying2) was chosen to depict the airline’s personality which is agile, brilliant, charming and fun. Since the name is unique and evocative, Firefly has the potential to grow and command a brand premium in the future.
Malaysia Airlines Chairman, Dato’ Dr Munir Majid and Executive Director/ CFO, Tengku Dato’ Azmil Zahruddin were also present at the event.