Malindo Air is confident that it can continue offering competitive fares by maintaining a low-cost base and high utilisation of its aircraft.
The recently launched Malaysia-based carrier is offering a hybrid product where it charges relatively low fares while providing free baggage allowance, snacks and in-flight entertainment onboard.
The carrier's new Boeing 737-900ER aircraft are fitted with 12 business and 168 economy seats - much lower than the maximum capacity of 220 seats. This allows for a 32in (813mm) seat pitch in economy, more generous than what its competitor AirAsia offers onboard its 180-seat Airbus A320s.
Malindo's aircraft are also equipped with Panasonic eX2 in-flight entertainment systems and in-flight connectivity.
The carrier, which has the tagline "not just low cost", will keep its fares competitive by keeping operating costs low, and by utilising its aircraft up to 17 hours daily, its chief executive Chandran Rama Muthy says in an interview with Flightglobal Pro.
"With brand new aircraft, we will also have lower cost of maintenance. Combined with high aircraft utilisation and economies of scale as a group with Lion Air, we will be able to provide all these on board," says Chandran.
Malaysia's National Aerospace and Defence Industries (NADI), which owns a 51% stake in the carrier, told Flightglobal Pro last year that it plans to launch a commercial MRO business to support Malindo's operations.
Lion Air president director Rusdi Kirana has said that Malindo will keep its fares lower than or at least on par with AirAsia's to compete as a newcomer.
Some analysts have said, however, that Malindo will find it tough to sustain its operations, with some even forecasting that it will have to shut down because of "relatively large losses".
Malindo is a joint venture between Indonesia's Lion Air and Malaysia's NADI, It launched operations on 22 March with services from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
It operates a fleet of two 737-900ERs, and targets to grow its fleet to 100 aircraft within 10 years.