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SINGAPORE: Firefly, a wholly-owned unit of the Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), has reinstated its flights to Seletar airport here that had been suspended since March 2020 due to Covid-19.
Flight FY3124 departed from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport and arrived with 64 passengers, including Firefly chief executive officer Philip See and his delegation on board yesterday morning.
Firefly’s maiden flight to Seletar was in April 2019.
Speaking to reporters, See said he hoped that demand would pick up and gradually return to pre-pandemic levels.
The airline, which flew six ATRs, a twin-engine turboprop, flew daily to Singapore previously. It will fly two times a day for now.
“We will be looking at the performance of the two daily flights first before deciding on the crystallised timeline.
“Naturally, if demand picks up, we will do it in phases from two now to up to six times.
“Hopefully, by the end of the year, we hope to increase the schedule,” he said.
On the number of passengers that Firefly expects to carry by year-end, See expected it to reach 60,000 to 70, 000 when the frequency is increased.
“ATR carries 72 passengers. If the load is about 50 people, one way, so two flights a day that’s 100 passengers one way (and) return 200 (passengers). You’ve got 200 days left (40,000 passengers).
“That’s the minimum,” he said.On the passenger load before Covid-19, See said with six flights a day, the load was about 50% to 60%.
See noted that yesterday’s flight was about 80% full.
“With two flights a day, you’re going to see some spillover. As we ramp up gradually, you will move to 50% and 60%.
However, See noted that Firefly’s customers “are mostly corporate business travel.”
“We are not here to pack the seats to the maximum. It’s really about giving a great schedule and then people are willing to pay for the schedule.
“Our strategy is really about driving yield. Not load for the business.”
For this week, the loads are very high at close to 60% to 70%, according to See.
“The booking profile is very short for Kuala Lumpur-Singapore because they are corporate travellers.
“They will make a decision three or four days before departure. The pre-load booking looks very robust because there are only two flights a day,” he said. — Bernama