The nine-month-old airline is starting New Delhi-KL route on Dec 30, 2013, using the Boeing B737-900ER. "Currently, only Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is servicing the route. Although demand is there, we are limited by the number of seats," he told Bernama in an interview here Monday.
Once Malindo Air started its operation, there would be additional 1,260 seats per week, he said. "With MAS' 4,720 per week, it will give us a total of 23,920 seats per month, which will enable us to expand our marketing efforts to second- and third-tier cities in north India," said Amran.
Tourism Malaysia, he said, planned to promote the country in North-East India as well as Jammu-Kashmir. "Malindo's move augurs well with Visit Malaysia Year 2014. Hence, we are planning roadshows in North East states such as Manipur as well as Jammu-Kashmir," he said. In fact, the travel agents in northern region have already started their promotions and advertisement about Malindo Air with their customers.
Asked if Tourism Malaysia was concern whether Malindo Air would be able to sustain the route amid higher operating cost, he said, this would not an issue in terms of passenger traffic as demand was tremendous for this sector. According to Amran, even during low season, MAS received 95 per cent load for the New Delhi-Kuala Lumpur route. "With our intensified promotions, Tourism Malaysia will also help in terms of load," he said.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), New Delhi, is the busiest airport in India and also known to be one of the most expensive airports in the world amid its high-duty structure. AirAsia had scrapped its flights from Mumbai and New Delhi in 2012 citing high operating costs at these two airports.
Malindo will also start flying to Trichy, Tamil Nadu, on Jan 2, 2014 and Mumbai on Feb 15, 2014. "However, if similar situation (high cost impacting operation) is faced by Malindo Air. We hope they could operate from the nearest airport that is opening up, such as Chandigard Airport, where rates can be negotiated," he said.
Chandigard Airport, located about 260km away from New Delhi is listed as one of the major airports in North India. Works are under way for an international terminal. "But we are hopeful that Malindo can maintain the route as IGI is well-connected with all the major cities in India," he said.
For 2014, Tourism Malaysia is eyeing 780,000 tourists from India. As of July 2013, a total of 393,896 Indian tourists visited Malaysia.