Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Firefly posts passenger growth

SUBANG, 28 Aug: Firefly has seen increased passenger growth, with Penang, Kota Bharu and Singapore being the top three destinations in terms of revenue and number of passengers, said its chief executive officer Ignatius Ong.

The short-haul airline company is constantly on the lookout for new destinations within Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand (IMT) growth triangle, as well as Singapore, he added. Asked on Firefly’s further expansion plan, Ong does not discount the probability of Firefly venturing into turbojet business in the future, saying “never say never.”

Compared to turbojets which can fly longer hours, turboprops can only travel for maximum 2 hours due to its lower fuel consumption and capacity. This year, Firefly had signed an agreement with Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) to purchase 20 turboprops, which will be delivered in stages from mid-2013 to end-2019. Total purchase amounted to over US$840mil.

The company is currently operating a fleet of 12 ATR 72-500 and 1 ATR 72-600 turboprop out of Penang and Subang. Some of the challenges, in Ong’s view, lie in the stimulation of demand in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, volatility of fuel prices and over-capacity pumped into the market by other players.

“However, we believe we will rise above these challenges because customers have confidence in the quality of services and products we offer,” Ong told reporters at the company’s Hari Raya event, where 40 orphans from Rumah Kesayangan and 12 children from Malaysia Aids Council were brought for a 15-minute plane ride around the hangar at MAS Complex A yesterday.

Firefly will be participating in the Pack and Go Travel Fair held at One Utama from today to Sept 1 to give away attractive deals on flight tickets and holiday packages.

Source: The Star | Business | 28 August 2013 |