INDIA'S aviation authority has granted Malindo Air an operating licence for proposed flights between India and Malaysia, a move that could lead to cheaper fares on the route.
Malindo will kickstart daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to New Delhi on December 30, daily flights to Trichy on January 2 and daily flights to Mumbai on February 15.
Chandran Rama Muthy, CEO of Malindo Air, said in a statement: "The decision to start our services to these long-awaited new routes emphasises the value and importance of tourism, trade and business links between India and Malaysia. We believe these new services will support Tourism Malaysia's Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY14) campaign."
Eva Ristina, executive director at Kuala Lumpur-based inbound operator Tina Travel & Agencies, said Malindo’s entry is very much welcome as it will add much needed seat capacity especially on the Mumbai and New Delhi routes.
Seat capacity on the routes fell following AirAsia X’s exit early last year, when the LCC suspended its four weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai on January 31. Daily service to New Delhi was stopped on March 22 (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 13, 2012).
Both the Kuala Lumpur-New Delhi route and Kuala Lumpur-Mumbai route are currently monopolised by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) (TTG Asia e-Daily, September 27, 2012).
MAS offers twice-daily services between Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi, and six flights weekly to Mumbai.
Eva added: “Hopefully MAS will relook their pricing strategy as there is now competition on the Kuala Lumpur-Mumbai and Kuala Lumpur-New Delhi routes.
“With lower fares offered by Malindo Air, Indian outbound tour operators will be able to work out lower packages rates for Malaysia, which will make the destination more competitive. The new services are timely in anticipation of VMY14.”