Malaysia’s Firefly to offer Jet Flights early 2021

According to recent media reports, Firefly Airlines will start flying jet planes in the first quarter of 2021. This announcement comes amidst the move by its parent Malaysia Aviation Group MAG to negotiate steep discounts from lessors and creditors in an effort to keep Malaysia Airlines afloat.

Firefly currently flies turboprop planes out of Subang Skypark in Kuala Lumpur. But it is expected to introduce 10 narrow body jets to its fleet flying out of Penang International Airport. This will be done in phases to serve the domestic, ASEAN and Asia Pacific markets.

Here are the key takes from statements made by MAG and its CEO Captain Izham Ismail:
• Domestic and short haul travel will be most preferred for MAG in the current environment.
• Firefly will complement sister company Malaysia Airlines to serve the leisure market, while letting Malaysia Airlines focus on the premium market.
• It will look to connect secondary cities in Malaysia to East Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.
• It may be able to deploy Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Malaysia Airlines.
• The Penang hub will require minimal investment and yield additional 36% capacity over 5 years (in terms of average seat per kilometre)
The saga continues….

In yet another downsizing move reported yesterday, MAG has offered an early retirement scheme to employees across the group, including Malaysia Airlines, MASwings, MAB Kargo, Firefly, Hijrah Biru, AeroDarat Services and the MAB Academy. The scheme is targeted at employees aged 45 and above who have served the company for at least 10 years. It was reported that the offer was for three months salary.

MAG had earlier warned lessors that its owner Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s state investment arm, would wind down the airline if restructuring talks fail. Under an alternative plan, Khazanah would inject funds into Firefly to start new jet operations focusing on domestic services and narrow body jets initially. As the sole shareholder of MAG, Khazanah Nasional Bhd is expected to make a decision soon whether to provide another lifeline to Malaysia Airlines or to bail out.