Firefly which currently operates turboprop aircrafts will soon resume jet flights in the first quarter of 2021. The move was announced today by Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG).
According to MAG, Firefly will add up to 10 narrow-body jetliners to its fleet in phases to serve domestic, ASEAN and Asia Pacific markets out from Penang International Airport. It added that domestic and short haul travel will be the most preferred during the current environment and it makes commercial sense for the airline to supply this demand from the northern region.
MAG group CEO Captain Izham Ismail said, “This is in line with the group’s enhanced long-term business plan which has been realigned to suit the current and future environment post COVID-19, with a focus on strengthening the revenue streams of each subsidiary.”
Izham said Firefly will be complementing Malaysia Airlines in serving the leisure market while diversifying its base connecting secondary cities in Malaysia to East Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.
Firefly CEO Philip See said airlines must embrace changes and market needs that emerged since the COVID-19 pandemic. He said Firefly is ready to carry that challenge and they see strong potential in a dual hub strategy, while maintaining its turboprop service out of Subang Skypark.
MAG added that passengers will continue to enjoy similar perks as full fledged carriers including complimentary 20kg checked baggage allowance and the opportunity to earn and redeem Enrich points along with the option for seat selection and insurance coverage add-ons.
There’s no mention of what type of aircraft the airline intends to use but there’s a possibility of transferring existing 737s from Malaysia Airlines.
Firefly currently operates a fleet of 12 ATR 72-500 aircraft that has a maximum capacity 72 passengers. It previously operated a fleet of Boeing 737-400 aircraft in 2010 and had placed an order for 30 Boeing 737-800 at the end of that year. Firefly began flying its new Boeing 737-800 in January 2011 but eventually they stopped all jet flights to focus solely on turboprop operations.