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- IATA Code
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- FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd,
3rd Floor, Admin Building 1,
Complex A, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport,
- Main hub
- Kuala Lumpur International Airport
- Business model
- Full Service Carrier
- Domestic | International
- Airline Group
- Part of Malaysia Airlines Berhad
- Codeshare Partners
- Malaysia Airlines
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, Firefly is a full-service Malaysian regional airline. From its bases at Subang and Penang airports, the carrier operates scheduled services to destinations in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. The carrier is part of the transportation services division of Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd.
Location of Firefly main hub (Kuala Lumpur International Airport)
26 total articles
AirAsia is resuming domestic expansion in the Malaysian market with a focus on connecting more dots within its network of 15 domestic destinations. The LCC is launching or resuming three domestic routes from Johor Bahru in late Apr-2017 and has lodged applications for four more new domestic point-to-point routes.
By the end of 2017 AirAsia is also aiming to take over a few domestic routes within east Malaysia that are now exclusively operated by the Malaysia Airlines Group turboprop subsidiary MASwings. The routes are part of the Malaysian government’s subsidised rural air services (RAS) programme, but are potentially big enough to support larger aircraft on a commercial basis. The Malaysia Airlines Group is preparing to reduce its ATR 72 turboprop fleet further following anticipated changes to the RAS programme, which is coming up for renewal this year.
AirAsia is the leading domestic airline in Malaysia and has 50% of its total seat capacity allocated to the domestic market. However, AirAsia’s domestic capacity has been flat the last three years as it has focused entirely on international expansion.
Growth in Malaysia’s dynamic aviation market is set to accelerate in 2017 owing to aggressive expansion by all four of the main Malaysian carriers – AirAsia, AirAsia X, Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air. The total passenger fleet in Malaysia is projected to grow 11% in 2017, and passenger growth could reach 15% as average aircraft utilisation rates at most of the airlines also increase.
The Malaysian market grew by 7% in 2016, to approximately 68 million passengers. Malindo Air captured the most growth, accounting for nearly half of the additional passengers. The Lion Group affiliate is again poised to account for nearly half of the total passenger growth in 2017, with more than four million additional passengers, although Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and AirAsia X are also likely to carry at least one million additional passengers each.
Heavy discounting will be required in order to fill the additional seats and meet load factor and traffic targets. Fares in Malaysia are already very low and yields could decline further, particularly in 2H2017 when most of the additional aircraft are slated to be delivered.
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 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.
Malaysia Airlines, Firefly, MASwings: new domestic strategy – flat capacity, more aggressive pricing
The Malaysia Airlines Group plans to maintain current capacity levels in the Malaysian domestic market but is aiming to recapture market share through load factor improvements. The group’s domestic market share has slipped from 45% to less than 37% since 2013 as its domestic passenger traffic has dropped by more than 10%, due to capacity cuts and load factor declines.
Malaysia’s other two domestic players, AirAsia and Lion JV Malindo Air, have steadily grown their market share since launching in 2001 and 2013 respectively. AirAsia currently has a leading 45% share of domestic capacity in Malaysia – and an even higher share of traffic given its higher average load factors – while Malindo has approximately 14% and the Malaysia Airlines Group 41%.
The Malaysia Airlines Group is introducing a new, more aggressive pricing strategy in both the domestic and international markets in an attempt to boost load factors and regain market share. Malaysia Airlines’ domestic load factor was only 65.6%% in 2015 and slipped to 64.7% in 1Q2016. Firefly’s load factor was also below 70% in 2015, while MASwing’s load factor was below 60%.
Malaysia domestic aviation 2016: AirAsia impacted as Rayani enters, Malaysia Airlines resumes growth
Competition in Malaysia’s domestic market will intensify in 2016 as Malaysia Airlines resumes growth and start-up Rayani Air expands. The Malaysian domestic market should experience significantly faster growth than 2015 but yields will be under pressure, impacting profitability.
Malaysia’s domestic market grew by only 2% in 2015, marking the slowest rate of growth since 2006. The market has more than doubled in size since 2003, driven by expansion from AirAsia.
Malaysia Airlines domestic traffic has dropped significantly over the last six months and total domestic capacity in Malaysia is currently below year ago levels. But Malaysia Airlines expects to resume growth after opening seven new bases in secondary cities and introducing a new domestic schedule in Apr-2016. Meanwhile Rayani will begin competing on already crowded domestic trunk routes, joining AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air.