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Seeing Christmas before time with Firefly

Malaysia Airlines’ low fare subsidiary carrier Firefly is launching the first link between Southeast Asia and Christmas Island in Australia.

PETALING JAYA- Firefly will introduce a weekly scheduled charter service between Kuala Lumpur and Christmas Island in Australia from July 7, using its 162-seater B737-400 aircraft. The service will depart Kuala Lumpur at 9.20am every Saturday and arrive at Christmas Island at 10.55am. The return flight leaves Christmas Island at 11.55am and arrives in Kuala Lumpur at 3.30pm. Total flying time is just two hours and a half.

In a statement, Firefly said the new service is a collaboration between the airline and Sunwise Nominees Pty Ltd doing business as Christmas Island Air. Director Gee Foo said: “We are targeting both business and leisure traffic out of Kuala Lumpur. Many permanent residents on Christmas Island have their roots in Malaysia. Eco-tourism is also a growing segment on Christmas Island.”

Christmas Island is located in the midst of the Indian Ocean, some 2,600 km north-west of Perth, Western Australia. Even though it is an Australian Territory, its closest neighbour is Java, which coastline is located only 360 km away. Local population is an interesting mix of Chinese, Australian /Europeans and Malay. With many endemic species, Christmas Island is often referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. Yet it also displays a curious amalgam of cultures, history and industry, emerging as a place where all these elements create a truly unusual travel experience. Christmas Island has a population of less than 1,500 with tourist arrivals not exceeding 5,000 per year.

In another development, Firefly continues to build up its charter services. The low cost carrier operates twice weekly scheduled charter services between Malacca and Penang using its ATR72-500 turboprop aircraft and weekly charter services to Nanning from Kuala Lumpur and also via Penang using its B737-400 aircraft.

Firefly’s CEO Ignatius M.C. Ong, said: “Our scheduled charter services are doing well because of our excellent customer service, reasonable fee and our willingness to accommodate our clients’ flight schedules.” Besides providing scheduled charters, the airline also offers ad-hoc charters.

Luc Citrinot

Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.