FireFly to focus on 1.5m passenger target
Published on: Friday, August 18, 2017
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SUBANG: FlyFireFly Sdn Bhd will focus on reaching its target of 1.5 million passengers for 2017, before deciding on future plans including acquiring new aircraft, said Chief Executive Officer Ignatius Ong."For the first seven months of this year, we have achieved a passenger traffic of 800,000 and we will maintain the current flight frequency until the year-end.

"Then, we will see how 2018 will look like before making any decision," he told a breakfast session with the media, held to update new organisations on the latest developments within Firefly.

FireFly's current fleet consist of 12 ATR 72-500 aircraft, with each flying to eight destinations, daily.

The carrier reduced its fleet size to 12 aircraft from 18 aircraft in 2016 due to lower load factor of 60 per cent compared with 75 per cent recorded during its seven-year operation.

"Our strategy is to make sure that no aircraft remains idle in the hangar," said Ong.

The premium short-haul carrier earlier set a target to reach 1.6 million passengers in 2017 compared with about 1.8 million in 2016.

"This year is a consolidation year, until things start to pick up. One indicator is the ringgit, once the ringgit strengthens to at least RM3.9 to the US dollar, we can look to future plans, but right now the cost is too high," Ong said.

Responding to the plan by the Malaysian Aviation Commission to review the airport passenger service charge (PSC), Ong said the regulator should make sure the airport facilities are synchronised with the price paid by carriers.

Citing an example, he said unlike the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and klia2, Subang airport had no need for aerobridge. Hence, there was a need to compare the PSC between these airports, he added.

"PSC should be charged according to the categories and rating of the airport. For instance, category A has facilities for disabled person, category B and C each has its own criteria," Ong said, adding that Subang airport should not be charged a PSC similar to KLIA and klia2 as it does not have walkalators and facilities as the other two airports.

The PSC for Subang Airport for regional destinations such as Singapore and Banda Aceh is about RM35 and RM11 for domestic routes.

In a report released this week, Mavcom said the PSC was expected to be reviewed in January 2018. – Bernama


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