Malaysian Aviation Authorities Approve Two New Airline Startups
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Malaysian Aviation Authorities Approve Two New Airline Startups

Malaysia’s civil aviation industry regulator, MAVCOM, has given the green light for two startup airlines to begin flying…

Malaysia’s civil aviation industry regulator, MAVCOM, has given the green light for two startup airlines to begin flying in the country. Adding some extra spice to the Malaysian airline market are would-be startups MYAirline and SKS Airways.

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Two new airlines are eyeing flying in Malaysia this year. Photo: Getty Images

Credible information of a new ULCC in Malaysia

Malaysian business and financial news outlet Edge Markets is reporting that MYAirline and SKS Airways had their air service licenses approved late last year. MYAirline received one-year conditional approval to operate passenger flights in Malaysia, while SKS Airways received a three-year license to fly passenger services.

“MYAirline’s plan is to build an airline business in Malaysia and maybe challenge AirAsia for dominance,” an unnamed source told Edge Markets.

CGS-CIMB Research aviation analyst Raymond Yap says there is “credible information that a new ULCC is currently in the process of seeking regulatory approval to set up in Malaysia, having signed deals to lease two Airbus A320s at cheap leasing rates.”

The man behind MYAirline is Malaysian entrepreneur Datuk Goh Hwan Hua. The key shareholders in the airline are Zillion Wealth Bhd and Trillion Cove Holdings Bhd. Goh is the majority shareholder in both those businesses.

Two yet-to-be obtained narrowbody Airbus jets will not set the Malaysian airline industry on its head. However, any startup ULCC is a potential threat to local low-cost incumbent AirAsia.

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A new ULCC in Malaysia is a potential problem for AirAsia. Photo: Getty Images

New entrant a problem for AirAsia?

Last week, AirAsia slipped into what’s called Practice Note 17 (PN17) status. Malaysia’s stock exchange, Bursa Malaysia, issued the PN17 note on January 13, effectively requiring AirAsia to formally explain to the stock exchange how they intend to restructure and revive the airline in order to maintain their listing status.

AirAsia has lost US$1.47 billion over the last two financial years and $212 million in the third quarter of 2021 alone. This year, MAVCOM’s best-case scenario is passenger traffic within Malaysia recovering between 30% and 45% of 2019’s numbers.

With that kind of outlook, it might seem an odd time to be issuing new air services licenses, and any new entrant in the low-cost space ramps up the pressure on an already under the pump AirAsia.

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SKS Airways employees in front of one of their Twin Otters. Photo: SKS Airways

SKS Airways readies for takeoff

Meanwhile, the emergence of SKS Airways is less problematic for established Malaysian carriers. Rather than flying narrowbody Airbus jets, SKS Airways has more modest ambitions. They plan to fly their first flights later this month. The startup airline’s first route is Subang – Pangkor, and they’ll fly that with DHC6 Twin Otter turboprop aircraft.

SKS Airways is owned by Johor-based SKS Group, which is owned by Alan Sim See Kiong. Traditionally, the SKS Group has invested in property and hotel developments. According to SKS Airways’ website, the Twin Otters will serve domestic short-range leisure and commuter flights to unserved and underserved routes destinations.

“Our operation is mainly focused on popular island-based resorts, coastal resorts with connections to major cities within Peninsular Malaysia,the website says.

“SKS Airways shall initially operate using up to four DHC6 Twin-Otter, a tough and reliable turboprop aircraft with Short Take Off Landing (STOL) capabilities. These aircraft are deemed reliable in providing alternative air transportation especially to the remote island resorts which are only accessible via surface or boats.”

The 45-minute flights between Subang and Pangkor start on January 26 and are bookable via the airline’s website. There is no word on when MYAirline flights might first take off.

Source: https://simpleflying.com/startup-airlines-malaysia-myairline-sks-airways/

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