Some chats with a few friends of mine working at Subang Airport during the Breitling Jet Airshow on March has enlighten me with Malindo Air’s turboprop operation plan. Nevertheless, it was about a month later than such plan was officially revealed to the public. While some analysts were skeptics of such plan, some even describe tis “does not make sense”. Nevertheless, Malindo Air press on ahead with this plan.
The hybrid airline plans to start its turboprop operation from Subang Skypark terminal from June 3. For a start, turboprop flights from Subang will involved destinations such as Penang, Johor Bahru and Kota Bharu. These would be later expanded to other domestic destinations as well as those in Southern Thailand and Northern Sumatera.
Interestingly, MAS’ turboprop subsidiary, Firefly is also flying to these destinations from Subang using its ATR-72-500 aircraft. In comparison, Firefly –that has had a monopoly on turboprop operations in Subang airport for the last six years – offers 12 flights a day to its first hub, Penang.
The first of six ATR-72-600 turboprop aircraft was delivered on May 20 to the airline at AIROD Aerospace Technology’s facility located at the airport.
These were part of 27 turboprops ordered by Lion Air from ATR on February, 2013 for its subsidiary, Wing Air, which operates rural air services within Indonesia. Wing Air is the largest ATR 72 operator in the world with 20 ATR-72-500 and 40 ATR-72-600 currently in service or being ordered.
It is believed that Malindo Air have entered into a leasing arrangement with Lion Air to take over a portion of the deliveries initially intended for the Wings Air. Deliveries of Malindo Air’s example will continue throughout the year until December.
Its jet operation consists of Boeing 737-900ER will continue from KLIA. The STAR quoting its source mentioned that “Any route that falls within the two-hour flying radius would be operated from Subang, while anything beyond that would be operated by its jet operations from KLIA”
Currently, Firefly and Berjaya Air operate commercial air services from Subang SkyPark.
AirAsia Bhd’s major shareholders, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, had earlier planned to set up a business airline, Caterham Jets, to operate from Subang to serve the ASEAN region to destinations like Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore.
However, it is not clear when the venture would take off.
The Subang SkyPark plan is part of Malindo’s expansion strategy in Malaysia. It began operating in the country on March 23, and a month later managed to carry 50,000 passengers by operating two Boeing 737-900ER to two destinations, i.e. Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
It is targeting more than 300,000 passengers by year-end, sources said
The airline will also begin plying international routes in June and expects the Indian capital of New Delhi to be its first stop. Some other routes in south India will be added.
“They have secured the slots for New Delhi and are now waiting for approvals from the Indian authorities,” said the source.