New low-cost airline plan in Malaysia

New low-cost airline plan in Malaysia
Abdul Wahab (centre), Bumi Aviation executive director Azrul Hisham Datuk Abd Wahab (right) and Muhammad showing the planned carrier’ s routes.

ALOR SETAR - Two firms are planning to start a new airline with Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Kepala Batas here as its hub.

Bumi Aviation Sdn Bhd and Neptune Air Sdn Bhd are behind the new low-cost carrier, which has yet to be named, and plan to start with return flights to Langkawi, Kota Baru, Medan, Acheh and Phuket.

Bumi Aviation managing director Abdul Wahab Mat Isa claimed that the new airline would be operational by September.

"We chose Alor Setar as we felt it is geographically strategic for domestic and international flights to Thailand and Indonesia. Our airline and our destinations can help boost the state's economy," he said, adding that Bumi Aviation was set up early this year.

When pressed for information on frequency of flights and fares at the press conference at the airport yesterday, he said more would be revealed when the memorandum of understanding for the enterprise was inked at the end of this month.

"We plan to purchase new planes for the new airline company," Neptune Air director Muhammad Abdul Jalil said.

"We plan to buy two planes first, either the ATR 42-300 or ATR 42-500 (turbo prop aircraft), at a cost of about RM10mil (S$3mil), including operations. We will need at least 10 aircraft in two years' time to optimise operations."

Muhammad said Neptune Air was set up in 2006 and had nine aircraft, providing services such as dry and wet lease, cargo and passenger charter flights and air cargo retail sales for selected schedule routes.

Malaysian Airlines, Firefly and Air Asia provide domestic flights from the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport and there was a direct flight to Medina and Jeddah for Haj pilgrims last year.

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