Malindo Airlines, the new budget airlines will be starting in early 2013 from Malaysia and will offer passengers and travelers cheap flights and seats which will be in direct competition with AirAsia, Jetstar, AirAsia X and Scoot in the region. Malindo Air plans to start operation on 1st May 2013 from the new KLIA2 terminal initially. However, Malindo Air has brought forward the launch date to mid-March 2013 with domestic destinations and will begin with domestic flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. Other destinations planned including India, Shenzhen, Guang Zhou & Hong Kong.
Malindo Air president director, Rusdi Kirana also told the media and reporters that The name 'Malindo' came from the name of respective countries: Malaysia and Indonesia. Initial flights will connect East and West Malaysia but Chandran declined to confirm whether the East Malaysian points would be Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. He also revealed that airlines first international route will begin in either April or May to India, and is targeting a fleet of 12 B737-900ER by December 2013. The airline will also commence operations with two B737-900ER aircraft in a two-class configuration (12 business seats and 168 economy seats), and will be equipped with Wi-Fi and in-flight entertainment. There is also talk for an ATR-72 plane to be used in the beginning.
Malindo Air signing ceremony recently held in Kuala Lumpur (Picture from The Star)
Malindo Air CEO, Chandran Ramamuthy commented “The airline will operate out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) as the LCC Terminal is too congested currently. KLIA is also the point where Lion Air flies to.” He added that the airline would later move its base to KLIA2, which is currently under construction and slated to open on May 1, 2013.
Lion Air which is the parent firm of Malindo Air intends to launch a total of 12 B737 aircraft on the fleet and the company is also planning to reach 100 planes over a ten-year period of operation. According to a report by The Star (Singapore), Lion Group chief Rusdi Kirana said that the launch of its subsidiary, Batik Air, would be delayed from March 2013 to end-2013 so as to focus on building Malindo Air to become a regional player sooner.
Malindo Air's Budget Airlines Lion Airways from Indonesia will own 48.9 percent of the new airline, Malindo Airways, and Malaysia's National Aerospace and Defence Industries (NADI) the remaining 51.1 percent. Lion Airways President Rusdi Kirana said Malindo Airlines will start flying between the three countries with a fleet of 12 new Boeing 737 aircraft in May. Rusdi said booking plane tickets airfares prices will be competitive for Malindo Airlines, either in the same range as rival AirAsia or "even smaller." The airline's fleet of planes will be fitted with a lower-than-usual 150 seats coupled with inflight entertainment and light meals, he said. It aims to offset lower revenue per plane due to fewer or lesser seats with higher frequency flights.
Competitor Jetstar Airline, which will receive its own Boeing 787s by 2014, already faces stiff competition on international destinations from low-cost carrier AirAsiaX and Singapore Airlines subsidiary Scoot Airline. The new budget airline entry into this region can only mean cheaper airfares for travelers in Asia Pacific and with this, travelers have another option to choose from in the budget airline industry with a new player Malindo Airlines.