KUCHING: Firefly, Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) community airline, has apparently begun cancelling some of its flights to and from Sarawak since yesterday.
This is ahead of Firefly’s rumoured pullout from the state by end of October.
The Star learnt that at least one Kuching-Kuala Lumpur flight was cancelled late last night, with passengers put onboard a MAS flight instead. The unannounced move has left more than a few ticket holders unhappy.
“My Kuching-KL flight yesterday evening was cancelled after I booked it online just a few days earlier,” said Ng CH in an e-mail.
During Firefly’s peak around mid-year, the airline was flying multiple daily flights between Kuching-KL, Kuching-Johor and Sibu-KL. It had a reported load factor of 70%.
But Firefly is now all but certain to cease flights from Sarawak and Sabah to Peninsular Malaysia by the end of October. On Malaysia Day on Sept 16, the Kuching-Johor sector became the first Firefly route to be axed.
According to the MAS official, it was very likely all three Firefly routes involving Sarawak would be terminated by Oct 31.
Read all about it on The Star
A group of 40 government servants and their families from Johor Bahru were disappointed that their flight to Kota Kinabalu was cancelled. They have booked tickets for 40 pax since March 2011 costing RM7000.
They were told the “Government had stopped Firefly” as if Firefly no longer exists. Firefly offers to refund their money back but the group of 40 refused as they want Firefly to be responsible by offering seats on other airlines. This is because their 30th September trip was planned earlier on and they have paid deposit of RM13,000 for hotel and accomodation.
Firefly must be responsible and answerable to such predicament. If you are affected or know anyone who has booked a Firefly B737 ticket, please support and share this group.
JOIN FIREFLY PASSENGERS DESERVE BETTER
The news about Firefly cancelling B737 wasn’t a sudden one. Back in August 16, it was reported by the Sun Daily that Firefly will stop flying jets and will focus on being a full service turbo-prop airline.
However, a new full-service regional airline will be set up and will take over the existing Boeing jets of Firefly.
Firefly managing director Datuk Eddy Leong said the new executive committee (exco) of the national carrier has decided to retain Firefly’s brand and strengthen its presence in the regional services.
“However, Firefly will stop flying the jets (such as its Boeing 737-800s and 737-400).
“Our resources will be used to start a new full-service regional airline named Sapphire,” he told SunBiz yesterday.
If Firefly has made a decision to stop, why didn’t inform passengers before talking to the press? Which is more important now? Your paying customers or the press?
Yes, it is exciting to see that they are dropping low-cost operations for a full fledged airline called Sapphire but Firefly owes its customers explaination.
We all know if Firefly drops low cost passengers on Firefly jets, they will make more money per seat when they launch Sapphire which is a full-service airline. From business point of view, it is a smart move to drop low fare paying passengers and resell the seat a full service price. But from a community and responsibility stand point, is this fair?
Please support the group Demanding Firefly to treat its passengers better.
In The Star reports, FireFly flights between Peninsular and Sarawak has 70% flight load which is quite a big volume for air travel. With FireFly cancelling flights, this will impact the air transport which is the only way to travel between West and East Malaysia.
“Yes, it is about 70%. If it cancels all its flights, it will have a big impact on Sarawak’s domestic tourism growth of 12% this year.”
In terms of arrivals, it has been a good year for the industry after a brief slump last year. Non-Malaysian arrivals increased by more than 20%.
“The latest news has made me very concerned,” said Rashid when asked about Firefly’s cancellation of its Kuching-Johor Baru flights from Sept 16.
Today on Malaysia Day, FireFly has stopped Kuching to Johor Bahru flights and soon they will also stop Kuala Lumpur to Kuching flights.
Since FireFly is cancelling its Boeing 737 planes which serves West to East Malaysia routes, many people are asking what happen to the planes? Not many people know that there is a new airline called Sapphire Airlines which is likely take over all of FireFlyBoeing 737 planes. This news is known in the aviation industry but not many people especially FireFly passengers are aware.
Local media reported that the Firefly management team will manage the Sapphire and Firefly brands. Firefly could not be reached for comment.
Firefly operates 10 ATR 72-500 turboprops, data in ACAS shows. The carrier has five ATR 72-500 turboprops on order and an additional five ATR 72-500 turboprops on option. Firefly also owns two Boeing 737-400 aircraft and six Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
If FireFly is managing Sapphire, we have our own set of question:
- Why can they plan the rebranding properly?
If it is still operated by FireFly, why can’t they transfer its passengers over to the new airline seamlessly? Is it because many seats are sold at cheap price that they take opportunity to refund and resell the seats at full price?
- Why so secreative?
FireFly should make this known to all passengers as it affects people travel plans. Even so, why can’t they offer FireFly passengers replacement seats on Sapphire Airline?
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!