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Malaysia's Firefly to start jet services in 2021

Aviation Updates Philippines – Malaysia's Firefly Airlines will start narrow-body jet aircraft operations during the start of 2021 as part of parent company's Malaysia Airlines Group's long-term business strategy. 

 Image: Firefly Boeing 737-800 in 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines which currently operates ATR-72 turboprop aircraft will start jet services from its Penang, Malaysia hub to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, and Johor Bahru during the first quarter of 2021. Firefly will start the jet services with three Boeing 737-800s sourced from Malaysia Airlines.

Firefly will eventually get a total of up to 10 narrow-body jets with plans to operate domestic and regional flights out of Penang.

 The move is part of the Malaysia Airlines Group strategy to allow Firefly to operate flights to leisure markets while Malaysia Airlines focuses on premium routes. It will also be the return of jet services by Firefly after briefly using 737 aircraft on flights departing Kuala Lumpur in 2011.

Regarding the decision to launch the flights from Penang, Firefly Chief Executive Philip See was quoted by TTG Asia during a recent BE@Penang virtual conference saying: "Penang (as a northern hub for jet services) is a great place to start because it has a great mixture of leisure and corporate business.”

 According to Firefly, the jet operations base at Penang will require a minimal investment from the Malaysia Airlines Group in 2021. The airline group expects production to be increased by 36% in average seat per kilometer over the next five years.

 Launched in 2007, Firefly operates a fleet of 12 ATR-72 turboprop aircraft to mostly domestic destinations from its hubs of Penang and Subang (near Kuala Lumpur). The airline also operates regional flights to Singapore, Phuket, Banda Aceh, and Medan.

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