Malindo Air’s dual-hub/fleet strategy in Kuala Lumpur; 21 routes launched in 2014 with Kathmandu coming next

Horses for courses. Malindo Air’s dual-hub strategy in Kuala Lumpur means it operates its six 737-900ERs and two 737-800s across 16 routes from Kuala Lumpur Sepang Airport and many of its 11 ATR 72-600s across 10 routes from Kuala Lumpur Subang Airport. Two additional international routes to Kathmandu (Nepal) and Visakhapatnam (India) will be added from Sepang Airport in February.

Malindo Air, a joint venture between Indonesia’s Lion Air and NADI (Malaysia’s National Aerospace & Defence Industries), launched domestic flights from Kuala Lumpur’s main Sepang airport in March 2013, using 737-900s. Five months later, it launched a second base at Kuala Lumpur’s older Subang airport using ATR 72-600s. Since then it has also launched nine routes (two of which have been dropped), which do not involve Kuala Lumpur at either end of the route.

From Sepang the airline currently operates 16 routes (11 international and five domestic) up from 13 a year ago. It has already dropped five routes, four domestic services (to Johor Bahru, Miri, Sibu and Tawau) and one international route (Ahmedabad). From Subang, Malindo Air offers flights to 10 destinations (two international and eight domestic). The airline’s six 737-900s and two 737-800s operate from Sepang, while the 72-seat ATR 72-600s are used on all other routes. The 737-900s are configured with 168 economy seats and an additional 12 business class seats with a 45-inch seat pitch and seat back entertainment. The decision to introduce a business class has resulted in the airline calling itself a hybrid airline.

Malindo Air now has almost 10% of Malaysian domestic market

Out of the airline’s 33 current routes, 17 are domestic services. During the last 12 months, the airline has grown its Malaysian domestic seat capacity by almost 24% and now accounts for an estimated 9.3% of the market. AirAsia has the highest market share of seats (almost 45%), although Malaysia Airlines offers more flights.

Airline Seats (Feb 15) Flights (Feb 15) Seats Feb 15 v Feb 14 Share of Seats Feb 15
AirAsia (AK) 283,140 1,573 -0.9% 44.7%
Malaysia Airlines (MH) 241,328 2,179 +6.9% 38.1%
Malindo Air (OD) 58,754 678 +23.5% 9.3%
firefly (FY) 49,680 690 +30.2% 7.8%
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 3 February 2015 and w/c 3 February 2014.

The airline’s most frequently operated routes are Subang to Penang (72 weekly flights each way) and Subang to Kota Bharu (64 weekly flights each way). These two routes alone account for almost 30% of Malindo Air’s weekly flights, including its international operations.

28 airports served; Kathmandu and Visakhapatnam coming soon

During 2014, Malindo Air launched a total of 21 new routes and increased frequencies on several of its older routes. In terms of weekly departures Kuala Lumpur Subang became the airline’s busiest airport with 275 weekly departures this month. In total, the airline serves 28 airports, of which 14 are serviced with at least two daily flights by the airline. Singapore Changi Airport is the leading non-Malaysian airport, since Malindo Air started operating thrice-daily flights there on 3 November 2014.

Chart - Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 5 January 2015 and w/c 6 January 2014.

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 5 January 2015 and w/c 6 January 2014.

The airline is promising further rapid expansion in 2015. Two new routes have so far been confirmed. Service to Kathmandu in Nepal will start on 6 February, while flights to another Indian destination (Visakhapatnam) begin on 15 February. India is already well served by the airline with flights from Sepang to Delhi, Kochi, Mumbai and Tiruchirapalli. Apart from India, Nepal and Singapore the airline also serves destinations in Bangladesh (Chittagong and Dhaka), Indonesia (Bali, Bandung, Batam, Jakarta, Medan and Pekanbaru) and Thailand (Bangkok, Krabi).

Malindo Air’s network

Malindo Air’s network continues to grow rapidly. Last year the airline launched 21 routes. The airline’s first new routes of 2015, to Kathmandu and Visakhapatnam, are set to start next month. Both will operate from the KLIA2 terminal at Sepang Airport using the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737NGs.

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