Malindo Air takes off with first flight to Kota Kinabalu
Malindo Air’s first flight took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Kota Kinabalu at 6.50am on Friday and plans to fly to 12 destinations this year.
Speaking at the launch of the inaugural flight, its CEO Chandran Ramamuthy said the passenger load was over 70%.
He said the airline would fly to 12 destinations this year.
Meanwhile, Bernama reports 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.
Deputy Transport Minster Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri witnessed the launch.
Malindo Air had on Friday 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.
The airline is the first in Malaysia to operate the Boeing 737-900ER aeroplanes with a capacity of 180 seats each and capable of serving destinations within a five-and-a-half hour range.
Malindo is a joint venture between Malaysia’s National Aerospace Defence Industries (Nadi) Sdn Bhd and Indonesia’s largest domestic carrier Lion Air parent PT Lion Group.
“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.