The air carrier is upbeat on its projection for next year due to increase in capacity and soaring demand for air travel to and from Malaysia.
Malindo Air’s chief executive officer Chandran Rama Muthy said the hybrid airline is aiming to fly three million passengers in 2014, a target driven by increasing capacity and upbeat demand for air travel to and from Malaysia.
Chandran said although the airline is hardly a year old, it has generated great confidence in its first 260 days in operation with 800,000 passengers. He estimates 150,000 will fly Malindo Air in December alone.
He said the airline is expecting delivery of up to 15 new aircraft in 2014 to cater for new destinations and increased flights.
“We are looking to take delivery of seven ATR turboprops while the remainder will be Boeing aircraft.
With the turboprops, we will be adding frequencies to some key domestic routes such as Penang, Kota Baru and Johor Baru.
“We have also applied to fly to Singapore. If the approval is granted, we will be flying to Singapore from Subang airport,”said Chandran. He said to ensure better network coverage for its customers, Malindo Air will shift its focus towards the international air travel market from domestic skies.
According to Chandran, the airline will next year focus more on rationalising its network, marketing and building the load factor and passenger volume.
He said the airline has set aside RM10 million to spend on marketing and promotional initiatives next year.
“After India, we will pause for a while before announcing our next destination, to justify the economies of scale to ensure cost efficiency in the company.
“Our real agenda of putting Malaysia as a transit hub is getting into place. The only missing piece in the puzzle is China.
But that (China routes) is not for now,” he said.
The carrier currently serves Bangladesh and Indonesia, beside Malaysian domestic routes, using nine aircraft (six Boeing 737-900s and three ATR 72-600s), all leased from its parent Lion Air. Its maiden flight to India will be launched at the end of this year.
Since its launch early this year, Malindo Air has set a target of taking delivery of 10 new aircraft every year and to have a fleet of 100 aircraft within the next 10 years.
The Lion Air group, controlled by billionaire Rusdi Kirana, is Indonesia’s biggest airline with over 50% market share there.
Last March, Lion Air’s yet to- be delivered planes totalled 600 when it inked a RM79.2 billion deal to purchase 234 Airbus aircraft. The airline has a similar giant aircraft deal with Boeing.
The aircraft are not only for Lion Air but also for its other airlines such as Malindo Air, in which it has a 49% stake. The remaining stake is owned by aircraft maintenance specialist National Aerospace and Defence Industries Sdn Bhd.
By P Prem Kumar
Malaysian Reserve, 12 Dec 2013