To boost domestic tourism, Melaka state government wants to introduce direct flights from Kota Kinabalu and Penang to Melaka International Airport (LTAM) via Firefly. According to Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali, the proposal was presented during a meeting together with Malaysia Airports LTAM manager Mohamad Nazri Mat Khalib and Firefly Sales Division head Muizzuddin Mahmud.
The CM said the meeting is significant in the state government’s efforts in attracting Firefly to expand its routes to Melaka. Some of the discussed routes include Kota Kinabalu to Melaka and Melaka to Penang.
It was previously reported that LTAM operations at Batu Berendam, Melaka were suspended due to the COVID-19 situation. The airport is expected to resume Melaka to Penang flights operated by Malindo Air.
In July 2019, AirAsia had introduced a daily flight between Melaka and Penang. Unfortunately, the service has been suspended since early this year. The low-cost carrier had recently introduced 8 new domestic routes which include Penang-Sibu, Kota Kinabalu-Kuala Terengganu, Kuching-Langkawi and Johor Bahru-Kota Bharu
To fly between Melaka to Kota Kinabalu, Firefly would need a jetliner as its current ATR 72 turboprop fleet isn’t suitable for the route. As announced by Firefly’s parent company, Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), they are planning to resume jet flights for the airline in the first quarter of 2021.
It is reported that up to 10 narrow body jetliners will be introduced to Firefly’s fleet in phases and it will operate out from Penang International Airport. Firefly used to operate a fleet of Boeing 737-400 and 737-800 aircraft for a couple of years before it became a turboprop exclusive fleet in the early 2010s.