Malaysia's Malindo Air commences operations

Kuala Lumpur
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Malaysia-based Malindo Air started operations on 22 March with the launch of three domestic services.

The first flight, MXD 1002, departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport's main terminal at 06:50 local time, landing at Kota Kinabalu International Airport at 09:25 local time. The flight had a 70% load factor, says its chief executive Chandran Rama Muthy.

The carrier will launch its second flight on the same route at 13:10 local time, carrying paying passengers, as well as airline officials and members of the media.

Malindo will be operating thrice daily on the Kuala Lumpur-Kota Kinabalu service and on 23 March, it will start four times daily services from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching. Both routes are currently dominated by AirAsia and flag carrier Malaysia Airlines.

The airline is offering a "hybrid" product on its Boeing 737-900ERs. Besides having a two-class configuration - 12 seats in business class and 168 seats in economy - the aircraft are also equipped with in-flight entertainment systems and in-flight connectivity.

Malindo now has a fleet of two 737-900ERs and has plans to launch international services by June. The aim is to grow to a fleet of 100 aircraft in the next 10 years.

Malindo is a joint venture between Indonesia's Lion Air and Malaysia's National Aerospace and Defence Industries. It will eventually be based at Kuala Lumpur International Airport's upcoming Terminal 2, which is dedicated to low-cost carriers.

The airline will initially focus on domestic routes to get Malaysians interested in the product, before expanding on to routes between Malaysia and Lion's hubs in Indonesia.

Malindo has also pledged to offer its services at fares on par or lower than AirAsia to attract new passengers to the airline.