Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Firefly’s Kuching-Kuala Lumpur route scrapped

KUCHING: Firefly, the two-year-old affordable wing of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), has cancelled its second route between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, with more cancellations likely.

The airline has ceased to sell Kuching-Kuala Lumpur tickets for flights after Oct 31 on its website, and tour agents are aware of the cancellation.

Firefly’s Kuching ticketing office yesterday said, ticket holders for flights beginning Nov 1 “will most likely be put onboard MAS”.

“That is most probably what will happen.

“That is what we are telling ticket holders for now. We are not sure of anything at this point.

“A new (flight) schedule has not been released,” said the ticketing office personnel, who declined to be named as he was not authoritised to speak on the matter.

The Kuching-Kuala Lumpur cancellation comes after Kuching-Johor was cancelled on Sept 15.

Firefly was flying three routes between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia (and with high frequency) around mid year.

The only Firefly route left for Sarawak is between Sibu-Kuala Lumpur.

Firefly’s website is still selling tickets for those flights.

However, a well-placed source within MAS’ Sarawak management said yesterday that Firefly’s online ticket sales “should not be considered as an indicator of flight availability”.

“My staff and I have been told to wait for an internal announcement (that will come) by the end of this week,” the senior staff said. “We think it will be regarding the route rationalisation. Stage by stage the Firefly flights are taken off one sector at a time.”

The Malaysian aviation industry is undergoing its most extensive flight rationalisation exercise in recent weeks. This follows the surprise announcement of a MAS-AirAsia shareswap deal in August.

Since then, it has been an open secret that Firefly’s jet aircraft routes would be scrapped. Media reports have said it was not a matter of “if” but “when”.

Sarawak Tourism Federation president Audry Wan Ullok, when asked about this yesterday, said talk was that Firefly would cease all jet aircraft routes by November.

She said the deal to end such a large portion of Firefly’s operations – this is according to her sources in the state Tourism and Heritage Ministry – was brokered and finalised over the recent Hari Raya.

Continue reading at: Firefly’s Kuching-Kuala Lumpur route scrapped

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