Malaysia Airlines (MAS) announced (17-Dec-2012) it signed an MoU with ATR for the purchase of 36 new ATR 72-600 aircraft worth MYR3 billion (USD900 million) at list prices. Of the 36 ordered, Firefly will take on 20 new aircraft whilst 16 will be inducted into the fleet of its sister company MASwings. This significant deal is part of the expansion plans for Firefly and MASWings, both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Malaysia Airlines. Currently Firefly operates with 12 ATR 72-500 while MASwings operates 10 similar aircraft. The additional enhanced series of ATR 72-600s, is expected to arrive gradually from the end of 2Q2013 to complement the demand of Firefly’s services and support the network expansion plans of MASwings. Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said Firefly is expected to rapidly grow within the next five years especially with the surge of trade movements within the domestic sectors especially with regions like Johor having the booming Iskandar projects and others such as Penang, Selangor, and Kota Bahru which are equally flourishing. The additional aircraft will be utilised to continue growing Firefly’s network and providing customers with more travel options. Likewise, the new aircraft are timely for MASwings which has set its focus on expansion in the BIMP-EAGA region whilst also increasing travel comfort for domestic operations within East Malaysia. He commented, “The new aircraft for MASwings fleet will be timely to provide more feeder traffic into the hubs of Kuching and Kota Kinabalu for onward connectivity to the jet destinations served by Malaysia Airlines." [more - original PR - Malaysia Airlines] [more - original PR - Malaysia Airlines II]
Malaysia Airlines signs MoU with ATR for 36 ATR 72-600s for Firefly and MASwings
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Malaysia Airlines' Firefly Part 2: overcapacity at Kuala Lumpur Subang leads to restructuring
Overcapacity at Kuala Lumpur Subang Airport has forced the Malaysia Airlines Group to restructure its regional subsidiary Firefly. The airline has cut its fleet and implemented a new reduced schedule in hopes of improving yields and load factors.
Closer integration with Malaysia Airlines is being pursued, resulting in codeshares, frequent flier tie-ups and potentially a rebranding. Firefly remains an important component of the Malaysia Airlines Group, which also has restructured over the last two years, but a smaller operation is required to restore profitability in an extremely challenging marketplace.
The Subang market is relatively limited in size with only six sizeable domestic routes from Subang, all of which are now suffering from overcapacity due to aggressive and rapid expansion from Lion Group's Malaysian affiliate Malindo Air. The irrational dogfight that has emerged between Malindo and Firefly at Subang is a potential precursor of a bigger looming battle at much larger Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) between Malindo and the Malaysia Airlines Group.
Malaysia Airlines subsidiary Firefly reduces ATR fleet as competition with Malindo intensifies
Malaysia Airlines regional subsidiary Firefly has cut its fleet by six aircraft and slashed domestic capacity at its Kuala Lumpur Subang Airport base by approximately 40% as part of a turnaround attempt. Firefly now operates only 12 ATR 72 turboprops, down from 18 aircraft a few months ago.
Firefly has been significantly impacted by extremely aggressive expansion at Lion Group’s Malaysian JV, Malindo Air. Malindo has quickly expanded its Subang operation since it was launched in 2013 and now has 16 ATR 72s, all of which are based at Subang.
Malindo has injected new competition across all of Firefly’s previously exclusive domestic routes from Subang. While Malindo has been able to stimulate some demand, yields have plummeted and load factors are very low.