Firefly, a subsidiary of Malaysian Airlines, has made a maiden flight between Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur and Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, opening up a new low-cost airline route between the Malaysian cities and the popular Batam tourism magnet.
The airline flew 40 passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Batam and 60 passengers from Batam to Kuala Lumpur on its first flight, Saturday.
“Most of the passengers from Kuala Lumpur are Malaysian tourists who come to play golf in Batam,” said Batam municipal spokesman Rudi Panjaitan.
The coastal city bordering Singapore offers golf lovers plenty of golf courses, whereas space for golf clubs is at a premium in the city-state. Out of more than one million tourists annually, about 15 percent visit Batam mainly to play golf, according to media reports.
For this purpose Firefly also offers a golf package, according to its head of marketing and communications, Angelina Fernandez.
Firefly serves the Kuala Lumpur-Batam route every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with a ticket price set at 51 Malaysian ringgit (US$14.4)
Batam Mayor Ria Saptarika welcomed the opening of the new route by the Malaysian budget airline.
He said the new route would help Batam residents to access health and education services or travel for business and leisure to Malaysia .
To cater for the needs of special services, the airline would also provide special packages for each purpose, said Angelina Fernandez.
The flight service is expected to support the success of Visit Batam Year 2010, spokesperson Rudi said.
Visit Batam Year 2010 comprises a series of city administration promotional projects to boost the tourism business. The industrial city is the second favorite foreign tourist destination in Indonesia.
The Kuala Lumpur-Batam route is the 16th route established by Firefly to connect major Malaysian airports, Subang and Penang, with other cities in Thailand and Indonesia including Medan (in North Sumatra), Pekan Baru (in Riau province), and Banda Aceh (in Aceh).
Firefly started in the flight business only in April 2007. (mrs)