BUILDING THE MARKET: Airline to increase flight frequencies, expand locally and overseas
HYBRID airline Malindo Air is looking to make Penang and Kota Kinabalu its hubs within the next three years.
The airline, which operates six daily flights to Penang, will be improving connectivity to the island state by deploying 10 flights by the end of the year.
"We have covered the main northern airports of Langkawi, Penang and Alor Star, where we have seen significant load factors. We are looking to enhance our frequencies to these points as we build our market and receive new aircraft next year," said its chief executive officer Chandran Ramamurthy.
Malindo currently operates from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Subang Skypark Terminal.
The airline, which prides itself in offering premium amenities at budget prices, began flying to Penang in June (from Subang) with its ATR 72-600 aircraft. Since September 12, passengers have been getting the option of flying into KLIA in its Boeing 737-900ER.
"Customer response has been very encouraging," said Chandran, adding that plans are in the pipeline to enhance the frequency of its domestic destinations and add more international sectors.
Malindo has spread its wing regionally to Jakarta and Bali in Indonesia and Dhaka in Bangladesh.
"We are currently flying to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Miri and Sibu in Sabah and Sarawak while in Peninsular Malaysia, Penang, Alor Star, Langkawi, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Baru and Johor Baru count as our destinations."
Chandran said the overall load factor for the airline has been healthy, hovering above 70 per cent of its capacity.
On the safety of its fleet of aircraft and the measures taken by its pilots, he said: "Apart from all our aircraft being brand new, the planes are being maintained by our team of experienced engineers who adhere strictly to local aviation regulatory requirements.
"Malindo Air has always given the number one priority to safety, with high safety standards practised throughout our operations."
He added that the pilots have gone through rigorous training and possess vast experience flying various types of aircraft, including the Boeing 737 Next Generation (B737NG).
Malindo is 51 per cent owned by Malaysia's National Defence and Aerospace Industries, while the remaining 49 per cent is by PT Lion Group, which also owns Indonesia's biggest domestic carrier, Lion Air.