LONDON – “Singapore, we are back!” said the low-cost carrier, Firefly, in a Facebook post on Monday (May 23).
After a 2 year-long break, the carrier is making a solid comeback as border restrictions are easing up.
The airline will fly from Kuala Lumpur’s Secondary Airport Subang Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport to Singapore’s Seletar Airport from mid-June using ATRs.
After two years of suspension due to the pandemic, starting on 13th June, the regional airline will resume its once-lucrative route: Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.
Firefly is the low-cost carrier and subsidiary of Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) Seletar Airport is a commercial and business aviation airport in northeast Singapore.
The airline regional airline will operate its 72-seat ATR72-500 twice daily and will increase the frequency gradually towards the end of the year. Before the pandemic, the airline flew the route six times a day.
The airline will sell tickets starting from RM119 ($39 Singapore Dollars) for one-way tickets between Singapore and Subang.
Philip See, Firefly’s CEO expressed optimism and that the resumption of air service is a good response to the two countries relaxing their border entry rules:
“As the Ministry of Tourism and Culture targets attracting two million international tourists to Malaysia this year, Firefly sees this as a perfect time to reinstate and play the role of connecting the communities within both countries,” he explains.
Lim Ching Kiat, managing director of air hub development at Changi Airport Group, which manages Seletar Airport, says the resumption of the air service between Subang and Seletar will provide more options for passengers traveling between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
“We have seen strong travel demand between both countries since travel restrictions eased. Together with our airport partners, Seletar Airport is ready to support Firefly’s operations and we look forward to welcoming and serving passengers at the airport,” he adds.
Air traffic between Singapore and Malaysia has always been significant, as there are strong economic and cultural ties between the two countries.
The route of Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is very competitive, with airlines like Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Jetstar, Malindo, Scoot, and Firefly flying this sector, and prior to the pandemic, Air Mauritius also flew this route 5th freedom using the A330-900neos.
Despite the high yield of this route, Firefly experienced financial difficulties with the Kuala Lumpur (Subang) – Singapore (Seletar) route before the COVID-19 struck.
This particular route is not as popular with typically only 40 percent of seats occupied. In 2019, the route was temporarily suspended for 5 months due to a bilateral air disagreement between the two nations, causing it to lose market share and confidence.
Firefly serves mainly domestic destinations such as: Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Alor Setar, Kuala Terengganu and Langkawi. The airline also has plans to reintroduce flights to Indonesia and Thailand, besides Singapore.