If you have bought tickets on FireFly for Johor Bahru to Kuching, Kuala Lumpur to Kuching and Kuala Lumpur to Sibu, you might want to read this news posted on The Star.
The news that carried the title FireFly pulling out of Sarawak after 4 months is a grave concern especially when FireFly has yet to make any formal announcement on their website.
The response from FireFly is even shocking!
KUCHING: Firefly, Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) two-year-old community airline, has started cancelling routes between the peninsula and Sarawak, with the first cancellation starting on Sept 16.
A Firefly staff confirmed yesterday that the Kuching-Johor Baru flight will be the first to be stopped.
The staff, who declined to be named, said Kuching-Johor Baru ticket holders for flights after Sept 16 had two options.
“There has been a lot of enquiries,” he said.
“We (staff) have been told to tell the ticket holders that they can either ask for a refund or be transferred to the Kuching-Kuala Lumpur flight and then onboard the Kuala Lumpur-Johor Baru flight.”
Concerned ticket holders of Firefly’s Kuching-Kuala Lumpur and Sibu-Kuala Lumpur flights are being told to “wait and see”, he added.
Wait and See?
FireFly which carries the slogan “Your Community Airline” is asking passengers to wait and see. The last time someone did that, they got a shock of their lives. Just look at the Facebook comments on FireFly page.
These are just some of the complaints we saw from FireFly facebook group. It is understood that FireFly Social Media team has been actively deleting and banning its customers that question or raised flight cancellation issues.
A statement from Firefly’s media relations department on the cancellations yesterday said: “We are unable to comment on any network rationalisation. On that subject, only our parent company MAS can announce statements.”
A check on Firefly’s website revealed that six Kuching-Kuala Lumpur daily flights were still listed as available on and after Sept 16, as well as the twice daily Sibu-Kuala Lumpur flights.
For the MAS community airline, the Sarawakian routes are practically brand new.
The Johor Baru-Kuching flight commenced in May, while the Sibu-Kuala Lumpur flight was just added in July with promises of more flights before the end of the year. The flights were much hyped by the federal and state tourism authorities.
Sarawak Tourism Federation president Audry Wan Ullok said she was concerned over the developments.
“It was once good that they (Firefly and AirAsia) were competing against each other,” Audry said.
“I’ve not been given much information about the whole thing, except that state authorities are hoping MASWings will be expanded to become a regional carrier.”
Audry said the cancellation of affordable flights would hit Sarawak badly.
“Most tourists can’t drive here, can they? Air accessibility is such an important factor to us.”
She said there would be a huge hue and cry if the flight rationalisation was not handled properly.
There had been speculations that Firefly could pull out under the proposed share-swap between AirAsia and MAS announced last month.
At the same time, there had been talk that Firefly might restrict its operation to just turbo-engined aircraft and that new airline, Sapphire, would be introduced to take over domestic routes.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Heritage Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg is rumoured to have told industry players recently that state authorities would engage with more foreign airlines to shore up flight connectivity.
The upgrades to Kuching International Airport, which was completed two years ago to allow bigger aircraft to land, would help towards that end, he said.
Johari’s plan to lead a MASwings delegation to the Maldives to explore the island-nation’s use of amphibious aircraft was still on track for this month.
The state wants MASwings to fly directly between Sarawak’s major airports and its new dams like Bakun and Murum, which will be part of the state’s eco-tourism offerings.
This news was published on 10th September 2011.