In April this year, we glanced at MYAirline, the new airline startup within the Malaysian aviation industry. From the leaders to the funding, its certifications, and possible route network, MYAirline was described as a potentially competitive low-cost carrier that could level the playing field in Malaysia. And now, several months later, MYAirline is getting ready to take off, with first flights expected in the last quarter of the year.
Certifications are in order
Earlier, we discussed that although MYAirline had already received its conditional approval for an Air Service License – a required certification in Malaysia for air transport services between two or more places – the expiry date for the approval was only until the end of this year. Furthermore, even with conditional approval, MYAirline could not fly until it received a couple more licenses.
One of these was the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), which was finally issued to the low-cost airline startup on September 27th by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia. With its AOC settled, MYAirline is next preparing to obtain its full Air Service License from the Malaysian Aviation Commission. Once received, the low-cost carrier will be fully certified for take-off.
Rayner Teo, Chief Executive Officer of MYAirline, celebrated the low-cost carrier’s progress by saying:
“We received our AOC last week, effective next month onwards. So that is one of the last stages before we go live and put our planes in the air. There are still a few steps left to go.”
Well-staffed and with good aircraft
In Malaysia, airlines must house at least two aircraft before being allowed to operate. Currently, MYAirline only houses a single Airbus A320-200, registered 9M-DAC, and configured with 180 seats. The budget carrier will soon receive two additional aircraft registered as 9M-DAG and 9M-DAH.
All three aircraft are being leased to MYAirline, as Teo highlighted that the pandemic brought along a silver lining of extremely affordable lease prices, perfect for an airline startup. Still, Teo is certain that MYAirline will eventually purchase its own aircraft when the time and finances are right.
The airline head is also firm on focusing solely on the use of narrowbody aircraft, as he emphasized:
“In the beginning, we will lease planes instead of purchasing them. But we will explore when the time is right to own some planes, as we know the competition MYAirline will face when starting out as a new industry player.”
For now, MYAirline is focused on domestic flights within Malaysia. Although the flight routes will only be officially announced when the airline is launched, Teo wants to keep the flight range within four hours as it was considered the sweet spot for low-cost flight operations.
And as with every airline head, Teo has some big ambitions for MYAirline, such as wanting to expand regionally and internationally, but he understands the risk of attempting too many things simultaneously. That said, MYAirline will be conservative when approaching the market by gradually building its domestic network and building up its team through numerous recruitment drives.
Teo continued by explaining:
“We will focus on strengthening the team for now, as we currently have more than 300 staff, including 45 pilots. So the main strategy right now is to focus on offering basic services that are more guaranteed. We also want to make sure that our on-time performance is among the best globally.”
Low-cost travel was only born in Malaysia about two decades ago, with the most significant players being AirAsia, Jetstar, and Firefly. And it was also previously discussed how it was pretty odd for the low-cost carrier to launch amid the initial recovery phase of the Malaysian aviation industry. Although the risk might have paid off because the country has transitioned towards the endemic stage, and demand for air travel is increasing.
Still, the entry of MYAirline would be well-anticipated but not without challenges, especially since AirAsia has the most prominent presence in the low-cost market. Regardless, Teo is confident that with experienced leadership and sticking to the core principles of low-cost flight operations, MYAirline will shake the market atmosphere and provide better alternative options for passengers.