Berjaya Air may go it alone

Berjaya Air may go it alone
There is a huge business class market that would prefer to fly out of Subang SkyPark compared with the KL International Airport if the air fare is right.

PETALING JAYA - Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Tan Sri Vincent Tan have big plans to capitalise on Subang SkyPark - Kuala Lumpur's city airport - to offer scheduled business class jet services within the region.

Either they join hands or offer services separately, they are both keen to get into the business. But such a move will put pressure on margins for airlines operating in the country.

The first time the tycoons discussed this was in 2011. But at that time, they could not hammer out a deal. Recently, talks have swirled again that they have come back to the negotiation table.

It is, however, unclear if a deal is in sight but the market is speculating that Fernandes' Caterham Jets will take a 51 per cent equity stake in Berjaya Air and now it is up to the authorities to give their blessings.

Caterham Jets, owned by Tune Air, which in turn is owned by Fernandes and his business partner, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, was set up two years ago. But it has not been able to secure an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) and thus the tie up will give it an edge to set up a base in Subang.

Whether both parties are working together is unclear, but what seems clear is that Berjaya Air is revisiting its own plans.

It wants to set up its own business class jet services, regardless of whether it can get a partner or not.

It has hired Datuk Eddy Leong, the former CEO of Firefly to spearhead its business class jet operations.

The airline may begin operations as early as March next year, those in the know claimed.

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