KOTA KINABALU, March 22 – Malindo Air, Malaysia’s first hybrid airline, plans to fly to 12 destinations this year, says Chief Executive Officer Chandran Rama Muthy. He said Malindo Air was looking at flying to India, China and Indonesia.
“Asean is a huge market and the market is growing. More airlines are taking to the skies and there is more connectivity,” he said during the launch of Malindo Air’s inaugural flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang to Kota Kinabalu.
Deputy Transport Minster Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri witnessed the launch. Malindo Air today made three departures to Kota Kinabalu and four departures to Kuching.
“We are now flying with two aircraft and will take delivery of two more in June,” he said, adding that the airline would have a fleet of 12 aircraft by year-end.
It currently uses the Boeing 737-900ERs aircraft for its flights. Malindo Air is jointly owned by the National Aerospace Defence Industries of Malaysia and Lion Air of Indonesia.
“While providing air transportation, we will also help to reduce unemployment,” Chandran said, adding that 179 prospective pilots have been recruited for the Advanced Airline Bridging Course with facilities provided by Lion Air in Jakarta.
Meanwhile, Abdul Rahim said Malindo’s scheduled flights to Kota Kinabalu would help boost tourism in Sabah.
Last year, 1.87 million tourists visited Sabah.
“With Malindo’s plan to convert Kota Kinabalu into a second hub, there will be direct connectivity into Sabah for travellers especially from Indonesia, Korea, Japan and China,” Abdul Rahim said in a speech.