FIREFLY ON TRACK TO HIT 2017 TAR­GET

Air­line ex­pects to carry 1.25m to 1.3m pas­sen­gers

New Straits Times - - Business -

AUDREY DERMAWAN GE­ORGE TOWN au­dreymd@nst.com.my

HAV­ING recorded close to 500,000 pas­sen­gers in the first four months of this year, pre­mium short-haul car­rier Firefly, a sub­sidiary of Malaysia Air­lines Bhd, is on track to meet its tar­get of car­ry­ing be­tween 1.25 mil­lion and 1.3 mil­lion pas­sen­gers this year.

“We are do­ing more than 100,000 a month now and on track to achieve the tar­get.

“This is de­spite Firefly hav­ing taken out six air­craft from its pre­vi­ous fleet of 18 and cut­ting three non-prof­itable routes,” said its chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ig­natius Ong at a me­dia gath­er­ing, here, on Wed­nes­day.

Last year, the air­line car­ried 1.2 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 18 air­craft. It stopped three di­rect flights to Koh Sa­mui, Krabi and Medan from Pe­nang at the end of last year.

Ong said Firefly’s 92 per cent on-time per­for­mance rat­ing last year and the first four months of this year made it a bet­ter choice for air trav­ellers com­pared with other air­lines.

He said cou­pled with nu­mer­ous in­clud­ing ex­ports from Thai­land, ex­ports now ac­counted for more than 10 per cent of to­tal rev­enue.

For its first half ended March 31, F&N’s pre-tax profit de­clined 6.7 per cent to RM260.8 mil­lion from RM279.45 mil­lion in the same pe­riod last year. Rev­enue was slightly higher at RM2.084 bil­lion from RM2.082 bil­lion pre­vi­ously. mea­sures in place, the air­line’s load fac­tor in­creased to about 70 per cent from more than 50 per cent last year.

Ong said the in­crease in op­er­a­tional costs, on the back of a softer ring­git, had hit the group badly.

“How­ever, our zero wastage mea­sure to cope with ris­ing costs has done us some good,” he added.

“Our first-half per­for­mance in Malaysia re­flects the cur­rent state of the econ­omy with con­tin­ued weak con­sumer sen­ti­ment, ris­ing con­sumer pric­ing in­dex and in­tense com­pe­ti­tion,” said Lim.

He added that busi­ness con­di­tions would con­tinue to be chal­leng­ing with pro­longed weak con­sumer sen­ti­ment and in­ten­si­fy­ing

Ong said Firefly had also in­tro­duced sev­eral value-added ser­vices to com­bat com­pe­ti­tion, such as the FY c-wal­let for cor­po­rate trav­ellers and the FY ewal­let, a loy­alty pro­gramme for fre­quent fly­ers where con­sumers can buy cred­its with 20 per cent ex­tra re­ward. Other ser­vices in­clude an on­line store as well as travel and auto in­sur­ance. price dis­count­ing while in­put costs in sub­se­quent quar­ters were ex­pected to in­crease fol­low­ing the up­trend in pack­ag­ing, milk pow­der and sugar prices.

Lim said the F&N group had al­lo­cated an ad­di­tional RM200 mil­lion in cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture to ex­pand its man­u­fac­tur­ing plants in Malaysia and Thai­land in the next two years. Ber­nama

PIC BY SALHANI IBRAHIM

Fraser & Neave Hold­ings Bhd chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Lim Yew Hoe (left) and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Tan Hock Beng af­ter a me­dia brief­ing in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

PIC BY RUDY SYAREME SHERIFFUDIN

Firefly chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ig­natius Ong says the car­rier has in­tro­duced sev­eral value-added ser­vices to com­bat com­pe­ti­tion.

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