Malaysia Airlines regional-airline subsidiary Firefly has taken delivery of its first new ATR 72-600.
The aircraft is the first of 20 firm ATR 72-600 turboprop regional airliners ordered by Malaysia Airlines for Firefly in December 2012, MAS also taking options on 16 more for its other regional-airline subsidiary MASwings.
Firefly currently operates 12 ATR 72-500 regional airliners and with the arrival of the new ATR 72-600s will almost triple its all-ATR 72 fleet, taking its total fleet size to more than 30 aircraft.
According to ATR, Firefly will use this significant fleet expansion to fuel a rapid increase in capacity on its domestic network, allowing it to augment service frequencies on routes to key Malaysian domestic destinations including Subang, Penang, Kota Bahru and Johor Bahru.
The airline will also be able to boost its regional international offering within the ASEAN network, specifically to Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, reinforcing its position on key international business routes.
All of Firefly’s ATR 72-600 turboprops are equipped with a new full-glass cockpit and feature a high-comfort layout seating 72 passengers and offering larger overhead bins. According to ATR, the aircraft will also offer the airline improved operational flexibility.
Firefly will put its first ATR 72-600 into service this month. The aircraft’s first commercial flight should take place following its arrival in Subang’s Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (IATA code SZB) on July 12. The ATR 72-600 is scheduled to operate its first commercial service to domestic destination Johor Bahru on that date.
“We have been looking forward to this day for quite some time now,” says Ignatius Ong, chief executive officer of Firefly. “We are thrilled to finally receive our new aircraft. Our exclusive ATR 72 fleet has allowed us to develop a unique high-frequency network out of Subang, Penang, Kota Bahru and Johor Bahru.”
Adds Ong: “Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle communities, their population and economy will also capitalize on this important investment.”
Firefly, a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, began operations in April 2007. It currently operates a fleet of 12 ATR 72-500 turboprop aircraft from Penang and Subang, connecting secondary destinations within the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle as well as providing air links between Malaysia and Singapore.