MALAYSIA'S first community airline Firefly arrived in Phuket to a rousing welcome on Thai New Year (better known as Songkran) on its maiden international flight.
The direct flight has created ex-citement among Phuket hoteliers and tour operators since the last such flight was more than 20 years ago.
Flight FY 3600 took off from the Penang International Airport at 2.20pm on Friday and touched down at the Phuket International Airport at 3.30pm (2.30pm Thai time), 10 minutes ahead of sche-dule.
The 50-seater Fokker 50, carried 47 passengers, including hoteliers, tour operators, tour agents and members of the press. It also carried 25 passengers who paid for their tickets.
On board the flight were Firefly Sdn Bhd managing director Eddy Leong, Cititel managing director Datuk Eric Lim and Penang Tourism Action Council acting general mana-ger Bobby Tan.
On arrival, the group were gar-landed by representatives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Also present were representatives of Malaysia Airlines and Firefly.
Phuket, known as the Pearl of the Andaman, is the largest and most visited island in Thailand.
The island, which is the size of Singapore, is one of the most popu-lar holiday destinations in South-East Asia.
Leong said the response to the inaugural flight was good.
“We had to ask 14 tourists who wanted to travel with us to take a MAS flight from Penang to Phuket via Kuala Lumpur because of limited seats,” he said.
Leong said since Firefly launched its operations on April 3, the flights had taken off and arrived 99% on time.
The airline, currently operates flights on a daily basis from Penang to Langkawi, Kota Baru, Kuala Te-rengganu and Kuantan.
Yesterday, the airline flew to Koh Samui for the first time.
Leong said the one-way ticket to Phuket ranges from RM39 to RM179 and Koh Samui from RM39 to RM199.
Tickets can be purchased via Firefly’s website www.fireflyz.com. my, its call centre 03-78454543 or through MAS ticketing agents.
Source : STAR
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