07/28/2011 | 10:21 pm
FIREFLY TO START NEW SERVICES FROM MELAKA
Firefly entered a collaboration with Melaka Air today to provide air services out of Melaka International Airport from November 11, 2011.
The agreement was signed on behalf of Firefly by its Managing Director, Dato’ Eddy Leong and Melaka Air CEO, Sharabudin Kudus, witnessed by Melaka Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Haji Mohd Ali bin Mohd Rustam.
The agreement paves the way for Firefly to station an ATR72-500 aircraft in Melaka and mount new flights out of the historical city of Melaka to Batam, Pekanbaru and Medan in Indonesia and from Melaka to Penang and Kota Bahru in Malaysia.
Leong said: “We had intended to start our operations in Melaka earlier but we had to wait for the expansion of our aircraft fleet. Now we are in a position to support the Melaka Chief Minister’s vision of expanding tourism accessibility into the state.
“In November, we will take delivery of our 11th and 12th ATR aircraft, of which one aircraft has been specifically designated to be stationed in Melaka. We will also set up a full operation support services in Melaka which will include aircraft maintenance, ground-handling and fuel services. Soon, there will also be an airport ticketing office in Melaka.
“If this collaboration with Melaka Air proves to be successful, we have the capability to also offer in the future our Boeing jet aircraft which has a larger seat capacity of 189.”
The ATR 72-500 aircraft to be stationed in Melaka is a brand new carrier. Currently, Firefly has 10 ATRs servicing domestic routes and neighbouring countries out of Firefly’s hubs in Subang and Penang. Firefly’s ATR services offers an average of 92 flights a day and it has been in operation since late 2008. The aircraft is a 72-seater, single class configuration. It offers incredible value with low fares. This includes 20kg check-in baggage allowance, assigned seating, complimentary in-flight refreshments and city airports as hubs.
Leong added that Firefly was targeting different market segments on different routes. He elaborated: “We are targeting the Health Tourism and Business Events segments especially from Pekanbaru, Medan and Batam in Indonesia to visit Melaka.
“Our thrice weekly flights from Melaka to Penang will connect two UNESCO World Heritage Cities. The convenience of affordable air travel is certain to attract more domestic and foreign tourists to visit both destinations. Melaka and Penang share more than just a rich, colonial historical past, but also diverse cultures and good food. It is also a good combination for leisure tourists who are keen on combining a historical city with a beach holiday. With the Melaka – Kota Bharu route, we hope to attract traffic from the business, leisure and visit friends and relatives segment.”
Leong said the airline would also work closely with Melaka Tourism and its tourism players to promote all the new destinations originating from Melaka.
Earlier this afternoon, Firefly’s special chartered flight flew in a full load of 72 people, comprising travel agents and media from Medan and Malaysia, Yayasan Melaka delegates and Firefly staff to witness the collaboration between Firefly and Melaka Air.
The chartered service, utilizing the ATR72-500 aircraft, left Subang Skypark Terminal at 3.15pm and arrived at Melaka International Airport an hour later. Upon arrival, passengers were warmly greeted by the Malacca Chief Minister himself, Datuk Seri Hj Mohd Ali bin Mohd Rustam, State EXCO members and Firefly’s managing director, Dato’ Eddy Leong.
Also at the airport this afternoon eagerly waiting to get onboard the return flight to Subang Skypark, departing 5.15pm were 40 orphans from Rumah Yatim Al-Zaharah Melaka and four accompanying adults. Their trip to Kuala Lumpur was a treat organised by Yayasan Melaka.
Ticket sales from Melaka to Kota Bahru and Penang will be available from tomorrow. Online purchases can be made from Firefly’s website (www.fireflyz.com.my), from travel agents and from Firefly’s booth at MATTA Fair Melaka, from July 29 to 31.