Airline Firefly launches new hub in Iskandar Malaysia region

Malaysian local airline Firefly has banked on the Iskandar Development Region, launching a fifth hub in Senai. The area was currently an “ugly duckling” that would soon blossom, and is far cheaper than having a base at Singapore’s Changi airport, said the company’s managing director Eddy Leong.

Firefly aims to have nine aircraft flying by the end of 2011, including seven 737-800 and two 737-400 aircraft, the latter to be based at the new Senai hub. Leong stressed that his company didn’t intend to use Senai to compete with Changi, but to complement it. Transport services along the Singapore-Johor Bahru corridor are expected to improve in future, making Senai a practical alternative to low cost carriers.

Firefly also announced new flights from Johor Bahru to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu to begin in May/June, and is applying to operate flights even further afield to Bangkok and Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung. The airline plans to carry 3.5 million passengers this year from Senai and its four existing hubs at Kota Kinabalu, Subang, Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Penang.

The Senai segment of the Iskandar Malaysia special economic region is growing fast, and within five years it should see mega projects constructed such as a new private hospital operated by Columbia Asia, a branch of the UK’s Marlborough College Malaysia, plus shopping malls and theme parks.

source & article: The Edge Malaysia

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