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Propping Down To Singapore On A Firefly  
User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 952 posts, RR: 26
Posted (4 years 7 months 4 hours ago) and read 20097 times:


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Life is all about choices. Take a weekend last month for instance: an unexpected email Friday from a contact asking for an urgent meeting left me with a minor dilemma. Can we meet in Singapore asap? it said. I was tempted to say No - seeing the only time I can squeeze it in is on my Saturday afternoon off - and I wasn't keen to be working at the weekend. But just as I was thinking up excuses on how to politely decline, I was also irresistably drawn to checking the web for flights and fares. And that's always a dangerous thing... for before I knew it, I had a flight booked and paid for, and arranging for a couple of hours' meeting at Singapore's Changi Airport. Could this discussion have been conducted over the phone? Perhaps. Could I have avoided a day trip to SIN? Maybe. But then, do I need to explain to you the real reason for my "working" so hard that weekend? I guess not, for I suspect you know already. 
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To the tip of the Malay Peninsula
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There are many more ways of getting from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore than before. Since the route was liberalized more than a year ago, aggresive, cut-throat competition has replaced the virtual monopoly that Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines called a fixed-price 'Shuttle' service in which the two national carriers shared revenue and profits. In a matter of months, a trio of newcomer budget carriers - AirAsia, Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia - have become the airlines of choice for point-to-point traffic, while the incumbents struggle to combat an erosion in yield and market share. Singapore Airlines' reaction has been to substitute most of its previously all-widebody B777 services with an A32X operation via unit Silk Air (to the point that SQ machines at KUL have become rarer than the likes of EK).

Malaysia Airlines, meanwhile, has been predictably slower to react. Maintaining its multiple-daily B734 KUL-SIN operation more-or-less intact, it wasn't until June last year that it revealed a strategy to counter the new competition. Using its new commuter unit Firefly, flights into Singapore were inaugurated from various points in Malaysia.

Now, this operation is unique in a number of aspects. In terms of equipment, Firefly flies ATR72s into SIN - re-introducing turboprop services between Malaysia and Singapore for the first time since the 1970s. Next, the airline's flights from Kuala Lumpur operate out of close-by Subang Airport (SZB) rather than KLIA (KUL) from where MH maintains a parallel service to Singapore. Subang was the country's first real jet-age airport - and until June 26, 1998 - it's main entry point. (Today it serves mainly as a maintenance hub and general aviation airport.) Meanwhile, the link Firefly provides between Changi and other secondary airports on the Malay peninsula - for the first time in many decades - also harks back to the days when the two countries were one and Singapore was the gateway to Malaysia. Useful as these connections are, why an MH subsidiary is building spokes for a key competitor's hub is quite the mystery to me.

Little surprise then that I had pretty much decided on oddball Firefly even before I looked at the schedules. (At 4-times a day, the flights fit my timetable too.) Flying on a prop at low altitude and at gentler pace down to Singapore appealed to me on a weekend, especially with the sunny and relatively drier weather we'd been experiencing recently. What's more, the commuter airline is also the only one flying from Subang, an airport that's a 15 minutes' drive away from my home. I guess there's really only one choice for me today.


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The Lunar New Year holidays in Malaysia last longer than the official 2-day public holiday. This is nearly a week on from the start of the Year of the Tiger, and the roads of Kuala Lumpur are still wonderfully empty, with many city dwellers away upcountry or, as we say in Malaysia, "outstation". Subang Airport is a short drive off the New Klang Valley Expressway, a road that links easily to KLIA and also - in less than five hours - Singapore itself.


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Off the expressway, the road many call the Subang Airport Road is unrecognizable from the time Subang was the country's main gateway. In those days, the narrow road flanked by rubber and oil palm plantations seemed like a journey into the wilderness - so different from the multi-lane affair you see below. In the space of a decade and a bit, the plantations have given way to extensive housing and commercial developments on both sides of the road.

Why KLIA was built to replace Subang had much to do with the valuable development land around the old airport (all the surrounding plantation land was originally earmarked for Subang's expansion when it was first conceived in the 1960s) that some quarters could now immediately profit from. The oft-used excuse for building a huge, under-utilized airport like KLIA - that Subang had reached saturation point - is therefore largely a myth. Malaysia's grandiose projects may look, simplistically, like just an ego boost for old dictator Mahathir, but they exist only because there are compellingly greedy private profit objectives.


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Okay, enough of this rant down memory lane, and on with the trip. I drive past what used to be the main Subang Airport (or Terminal One) - and architectural icon in its day - but now sadly demolished to make way for a Spirit AeroSystems plant that makes composite parts for Airbus single-aisle planes, and also apparently soon for the A350. I am not sure what's happened to Terminal Two (which housed the MH/SQ Singapore Shuttle), but the former domestic Terminal Three has been extensively remodelled and now renamed Skypark Terminal. This is the new Subang Airport I'll be flying out of.


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I park at the airport's open-air car park which is across the road from the terminal, and linked by a covered overhead bridge straddling the main road. There's a newish ATC tower to the south of Skypark - the old control tower at Subang's Terminal One (since demolished) was particularly prone to going up in flames: one particular fire affected flight operations for days! Anyway, that's the past - now, this area is probably best known for the complex housing MH's executive headquarters, that moved here after it sold its office tower in the city center in 2005. It probably makes a lot more sense in the longer-term for MH to based at its hub KLIA, but moving to Subang then (when the airline was on the verge of collapse) was probably the cheapest immediate solution - as some of its offices were already located here.


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Officially reopened in October, the interior of Skypark Terminal is practically brand-new and so different from the old Terminal Three it replaced. If KLIA's Low Cost Carrier Terminal is used as any sort of a benchmark, this refurbished facility looks, at first brush, upmarket in comparison. There's shops and food outlets aplenty, an impressive star-lit ceiling, leather sofas, free wifi and - assuming the air-conditioning doesn't fail, as it did the last time I used this terminal - a rather pleasant place to while away an hour or two.


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Another reason for the upgraded offering is that this airport sells itself as a hub for corporate and private jets with private lounges and valet parking as part of its FBO operations. Still, I am not so sure about the slogan: "The terminal destination like no other" that you'll find on its web site!


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As Terminal Three, this building used to have semi-decent views from the public area of the tarmac and assured close-ups of MH B734s or AK B733s. But now, the only view I can find is one of the EADS Eurocopter maintenance hanger, that occupies part of the tarmac. Not exciting at all.


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Turning indoors instead for excitement, I find the Malaysia Airlines ticketing office on the mezannine floor a tad intriguing. Not because it's any different from the airline's other offices, but for the fact that it's there in the first place - in an airport MH doesn't even serve. It's not a remnant of the past either, but one of the carrier's newest sales outlets opened only last year. Then CEO Idris Jala said this wasn't an indication of plans to restart flights from Subang - but who knows eh?


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A large MH mural advert depicting the many advantages of traveling on a full-service airline is a sign of the times. How things have changed in the space of just a few years: what used to be taken for granted by the flying public is now regarded as a "perk" it seems.


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Berjaya Air (J8) is one of the two main airlines operating scheduled flights from Skypark. This airline, owned by listed Berjaya Corp, has been around for a long time, but has shown very little ambition beyond bringing customers to islands like Redang and Tioman on which the group has resorts. The airline also provided the only link between Kuala Lumpur and Thailand's Koh Samui for many years - until Firefly started competing on the route last year.


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When Firefly (FY) first started service in April 2007, the PR spiel suggested the airline will operate local and regional routes deemed unprofitable for MH's jet fleet, hence "bringing communities together", and it would hub in Penang. The reality nearly 3 years on is that most of FY's routes are operated in parallel with MH's and its key hub is Subang and not Penang. The airline flies to 12 destinations out of SZB (of which 8 are also served by MH out of KUL), against 5 from PEN. In the end, Firefly is really an experimental MH response to the rise of AirAsia - even if it doesn't want to say so. In the same vein, it's not a complete surprise to see the region's most aggresive LCC opening shop right next door - at an airport it doesn't even fly into!


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The check-in area is small, uncrowded and unsophisticated: not one auto check-in machine in sight. The lack of crowds is one of the nicest features of this airport, and a stark contrast to KUL's LCCT. Firefly flights to Penang and Medan are being processed but not my flight yet, so I go to grab some coffee instead.


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On my way, I find the Live Flight Tracking system: as part of the airport's flight information display it's rather interesting, and I like it. This probably works for an airport as small as this, but that map will surely look pretty unwieldy for a busier airfield! As you can see, three Firefly flights are headed here, one domestic from Alor Setar, as well as from Batam and Pekanbaru in Indonesia. A Berjaya Air flight is expected from the resort island of Pangkor.


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All flights are apparently on time. The FIDS clearly shows which airline dominates flights out of this airport. In case you're wondering, SZB-PEN is Firefly's busiest route with eight daily rotations, just slightly short of the number of frequencies (9 or 10 a day) parent Malaysia Airlines plies on the route from KLIA.


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No need to rush at this airport. The single check-in desk for FY3511, right next to another for a flight to Langkawi, opens slightly over an hour before departure; the queues move leisurely but aren't long. MH seems to be a code-share partner on all FY services. The airline's trademark orange also seems to have spilled over to some fellow passengers' choice of attire today as well  
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Having been allotted a window seat at check-in - I didn't pre-select a seat, which you can for a fee on the website - I make my way through the unmanned "Passengers Only" channel. One nice thing about small airports is the prevailing sense of casualness that harks back to an earlier age when air travel wasn't the hassle it is now.


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I'm not sure about the use of space though. The long empty passageway towards a security check exists for no other reason than because that's how Subang's Terminal Three was designed. In the old days, these were gate areas and exit doors on each side were actual departure gates. The new Eurocopter hangars built around the terminal now mean that the view doesn't look anything like the tarmac where MH B734s used to park just outside.


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Some signs are still a little ad-hoc though. For some reason, this actually reminds me of the style of management at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.


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The holding lounge for the 2 international gates, just after passport control, can be best described as adequate. There's a corner duty free shop, a small foot massage place and a snack bar that forms a barrier between the international and domestic waiting halls.


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There's a good a view of the tarmac and runway from the gate areas. Pity there's not a whole lot of activity though. The general silence is broken by 9M-FYB pushing back for the late morning flight to Penang, while 9M-FYF follows in quick succession en route to Medan in Indonesia's Sumatra. And then, quiet again.


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The arrival a Firefly ATR72 that's parked right outside the international gates suggests the Singapore flight would probably be getting out on time. I also spot the cockpit and cabin crews for this flight waiting to start their day aboard FY3511.


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Boarding starts promptly 15 minutes before departure and we all troop out onto the sunny tarmac in a single file towards our plane. 9M-FYE is the fifth of seven Firefly ATR72-500s, newly delivered in December 2008. I am not sure whether photography is permitted here - there are a few security-looking guys around - so I try to snap as many pics as discreetly as possible, before I get stopped.


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Parked next to us is a Berjaya Air DeHavilland Canada Dash 7 scheduled for a same-time departure for Tioman island off the peninsular's east coast. The airline's STOL-capable Dash 7s were acquired mainly because of the short runway on Tioman, but most of them will this year be replaced by a fleet of new ATR72-500s.


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I make a leisurely path to the plane, handily hiding my photo-taking behind a busy family. Having only brought a simple point-and-shoot for this short flight certainly helps. There's a quick boarding pass check at the bottom of the stairs and we're on.


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Kuala Lumpur (Subang) to Singapore (Changi, Budget)
Firefly flight 3511 in Economy Class
ATR72-500 9M-FYE
Dept 12h37 Arrv 13h50 (on time)


A friendly stewardess welcomes me aboard and directs me forward to my seat which is only a few rows on. Firefly's ATR seats 72 passengers and today's load factor looks rather healthy. Maybe it's the crowds along the aisle, but I don't recall the cabin quite as claustrophobic and the ceiling quite as low before. The seats are dark LCC-esque leather, or at least leathery.



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After hitting my head on the overhead locker for luck, I squeeze past my neighbor and into my seat. It's snug but not uncomfortable at 15A. The crew do a quick head-count and before I am even properly settled, I hear the door being closed shut and one of the engines starting up. That's the great thing about small planes: as long as everyone's aboard, there's no waiting. We depart three minutes ahead of the schedule.


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The knee-room can be better, but it could also have been a lot worse. It's a pretty standard fit for a commuter plane, and tolerable enough for short haul.


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Revenue generation to ensure survivability is the thing these days for airlines, even if a seat back advert makes your planes look a little tacky. On my seat-back, Bank Islam tries to sell a Shariah-compliant bank loan without the need for a guarantor.

In the seat pocket underneath, I am surprised to find an inflight magazine that - unlike on AirAsia - welcomes you to take away as a souvenir. The February issue features Malaysia's first state-sponsored space tourist on the cover doing some very uncosmonaut-like things. (I surely can't be jealous of a guy who was chosen to go on an all-expenses taxpayer-paid trip into space - and transformed overnight into a national celebrity - just because of his looks, can I?)


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Anyway back on the ATR, we taxi quickly and roll onto runway 15, that's shared with the Royal Malaysian Air Force which has a base here too. The Berjaya Dash 7 bound for Tioman tails us there. The low rise building on the right is Skypark Terminal as seen at the start of our take off run.


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Malaysia Airlines still maintains its key maintenance base here at Subang, which you can see as we lift off. Many of the larger hangars here belong to MH. Also in the pictures (sorry, they're rather small) you can see 4 MD11Fs belonging to troubled Malaysian cargo carrier Transmile Air. They've been parked there for a while now, particularly since the directors were found to have perpetrated an Enron-like accounting fraud. A former Transport Minister was the company's chairman and of course, nobody's gone to jail... but then that's lovely Malaysia, truly Asia.


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Subang's original Terminal One was demolished to make way for this newly constructed Spirit Aerosystems plant below. I don't know what an operational Airbus sub-components factory is supposed to look like, but there doesn't seem like much is happening this Saturday.


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This is one of a number golf courses dotting Subang. Note the mainly residential buildings sprouting on the land that was originally earmarked for the airport's expansion. Land use conversions started happening immediately the government decided to build a new airport at Sepang to replace Subang.


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We're still climbing and headed south. It may be a perfectly clear day but there's almost always a permanent haze over the Klang Valley where Kuala Lumpur is located. Shah Alam, the capital city of Selangor state, is one of the country's key industrial hubs. National auto maker Proton's test track is visible (left), as is its main car factory located adjacent.


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A few minutes later, a distant KLIA comes into view. Malaysia's main international air hub is surrounded by oil palm plantations - a lot of it earmarked for future airport expansion - pretty much like how Subang was encircled by rubber estates and jungle in its early days.


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We track runway 14R/32L, one of KLIA's 2 runways, down towards the coast. This picture below - a bit hazy I admit - shows you the lay of the land. The most significant thing to happen in the next few years is the construction of a new Low Cost Carrier Terminal, adjacent to the main terminal. From the size of land plot being prepared, it does look like the new LCCT will be as big - if not bigger - than the main airport (and considerably bigger the current LCCT). It will even come with its own runway - KLIA's third. The terminal's targetted - though it may not be met - for completion by end-2011 and AirAsia will be its main tenant.


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With the seat belt signs off, inflight service begins. Christy (I see the name embroided on her blouse) has muffins and peanuts in her basket of goodies: you can choose one or the other. Unlike the other LCCs on the route, Firefly doesn't operate a BoB service, but instead offers a limited snack and drinks selection for free. There are also no hot or canned drinks on offer: I opt for what tastes a bit like Ribena. Perfectly fine for a short flight, though I'm not sure if I prefer this to a larger choice on a pay-menu.


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Outside, we're just coming to the west coast and Port Dickson, the nearest beach - though it's only just a mediocre one - to Kuala Lumpur. One of the more frequent landing approaches to KUL via 32L will ensure you overfly this resort town and gives first-time visitors a misleading impression that Kuala Lumpur is by the sea. In fact, KL is some 90 minutes' drive away from here.


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We're making progress and are now skirting the coast of the Malay peninsula. The appearance of the Petronas Tanjung Kling refinery portside marks the start of tiny Malacca state that lends its name to one of the world's busiest waterways.


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History began here. Malaysia may not be the place to come if you're looking for rich history, but Malacca, which can claim to have recorded at least six centuries' worth, is the closest you'd get. About five hundred years ago, this port city and sultanate was the absolute business hub of this region, center of the spice trade and teeming with traders from the region as well as Arabia, China and India. Malacca's success attracted an armada of invaders and colonizers too, starting with the Portuguese, then the Dutch and finally the British. Malacca, together with Penang and Singapore, formed part of colonial Britain's Straits Settlements prior to their independence and subsequent formation of Malaysia. Singapore later seceded from the federation.


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Thicker cloud cover accompanies most of our journey further south from Malacca towards Johor state, obscuring the views. Still, there are small breaks allowing views like this below of riverine town Batu Pahat, where a large number of Malaysia's textile firms are to be found.


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As we reach the south-west edge of Johor state (this is also the southernmost tip of Asia), there's a marked increase in the number of vessels offshore. This is the location of Johor's port of Tanjung Pelepas that is a keen competitor to Singapore for business.


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Our approach us to Changi takes us over a unique small island, south of Singapore, the entire length of which is taken up by an airstrip. I later find out this is Pulau Sudong, a military training zone for the Singapore Air Force.


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There are more ships offshore as we set course for SIN. If news reports are to be believed, their presence doesn't indicate a revival in the global economy. Rather, some of these ships are just anchored here, off Singapore and southern Malaysia, long term at the nautical equivalent of planes parked out in the desert as the worldwide recession and financial crisis hits global trade flows.


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We make a gentle dent on 20R, the runway that is closest to Terminals 1 and 3. It's a nice but strange feeling to be landing at a huge wide-body heavy airport like SIN in a prop. Firefly is the only regular prop operator into Changi making this service rather special I feel.

Having landed at 20R also means quite a bit of taxi to the Budget Terminal where we will disembark. Not a problem at all for me today as I sit back to enjoy the view. Though it's pretty quiet this time of day, there's always something to spot at Changi. An SQ Star Alliance 773 is seen pushing back from its stand at Terminal 3 - from the schedules, my guess probably as SQ866 for Hong Kong.


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Here's the biggest bird taken from the smallest. The A380 isn't so rare anymore: a spotting is almost assured at Changi any time of the day. Two-year old 9V-SKD takes a rest between flights at Terminal 3's gate B2.


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Parked closer to Terminal 2 is one of Singapore's new A333s. The registration 9V-STC is one I clearly remember from the time SQ operated A310s, which wasn't that many years ago - this airline is recycling old regos real fast!


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On the way out - slowly at this stage, but will surely accelerate in the next year or two - is the airline's sizable fleet of B772ERs. The A333s are already replacing them on a growing number of mid-length regional, Australian and Middle East sectors.


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Everything is clean and shiny at SIN, which makes this Jett8 Airlines Cargo B742F, parked close to the Budget Terminal, look particularly sad and abandoned. "Shogun" doesn't look like it's in a very good shape and appears to be deteriorating.


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Despite the relatively long taxi, we get to Changi's Budget Terminal right on schedule. Parked next door is not a surprise: an A320 of home team Tiger Airways, by far the largest customer of this basic, low rise facility.


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Disembarkation is as fast as boarding. Almost immediately we come to a halt, the doors are opened, and I'm saying farewell to a pretty stewardesses at the door. During the short walk to the terminal, I discover a former work colleague of mine had been on the same flight: she had apparently been sitting a few rows behind me in the plane. (If she noticed my incessant photo taking, polite etiqutte probably prevented her from mentioning it and asking why?) Working in Singapore as a management consultant but with her parents in Kuala Lumpur, Firefly has become a relatively regular commute, she tells me.


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Getting out of the airport is easy - if you don't have luggage, it's far faster than at any of the other Changi terminals. I bid farewell to my friend, and call my contacts who say they're on their way. We agree to meet at the Budget Terminal's departure concourse, a short walk away. Changi's Budget Terminal has the feel of a small provincial airport - certainly far less chaotic and less busy than KLIA's current Low Cost-Carrier Terminal (LCCT).


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The main check-in hall is rather basic and looks like KLIA's LCCT with fittings that are a tad better. Only three airlines operate from this facility, mainly on regional routes but with flights heading as far as Australia. Interestingly, Singapore-based LCC Jetstar Asia has chosen not to operate from this terminal (it flies out of Terminal 1), as has the AirAsia group.


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My meeting takes about two hours, after which I still have another two hours plus to kill before my 6.40 pm return flight to Subang, so there's time for a quick excursion. I jump on one of the regular free shuttle buses linking the Budget Terminal with Terminal 2. From there you can get to the other main terminals via Skytrain, or into the city via MRT.


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The transfer is fast and painless, with the bus depositing its passengers in the bowels of the terminal. Up a couple of levels, the refurbished check-in zones for Terminal 2 look impressive, particularly for a two-decade old facility. It's not busy at this time - in reality, none of the terminals have been particularly stretched since Terminal 3 opened its doors in 2008.


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Singapore Airlines and regional unit Silk Air dominate departures from this terminal. Some Southeast Asian carriers also use this facility together with an eclectic mix of north Asian and long haul airlines. Apart from Oneworld (whose carriers all use Terminal 1) the airlines from the other two alliances are scattered about. Star Alliance is worst with LH for instance in T-2, TG in T-1, and UA in T-3. SkyTeam are mainly in T-1 with the notable exception of KE which is in T-2.


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Singapore does well in tourism promotion but I am tickled by the 'Singapore in Spring' posters at the airport. It does have a nice ring to it, which is what advertising copywriters really like I suppose... so let's not complicate matters by introducing boring facts like Singapore's equatorial year-round hot and humid weather which doesn't have a season called Spring! 
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One level up from departures, what was previously the viewing gallery is now the Changi Aviation Gallery, which has a mix-and-match of "Did You Know... " exhibits on the airport and history of Singapore aviation. It's not anything earth-shattering, but could be worth a visit if you have ten minutes to spare landside.


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There are views of the tarmac from here, but the planes aren't so close by and are, in any case, largely obscured by the airport's Aviation 101 transparencies.


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Still, there are crowds here: quite a lot of them actually. So are these the aspiring young, future Singaporean A.netters who will vote for change in Singapore? The kids who will demand for a government that prioritizes plane spotting locations at Changi perhaps? Alas. Sadly, no. These school kids probably have no interest in aviation: like generations before them, they're at Changi to take advantage of the ample room and air conditioning while doing their homework.

It's time for me to be getting back for my flight. Before we leave, here's an interesting bit of trivia about Changi:


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Back at the Budget Terminal, nobody's queuing for the flight to Subang. Perhaps they had checked-in early or maybe I'm early: I am told the flight's about half full.


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Airside of the Budget Terminal is a nice surprise. While landside is rather basic, the facilities after passport control are considerably better, with many more F&B outlets and shops. The center of the main departure hall comprise a number of restaurants and bars and a small children's play area. Comparing this with KUL's LCCT, it's undoubtedly much more pleasant here.


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There's even an outdoor smoking area, in-line with the practice at the airport's other terminals.


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We are called early for boarding. A Firefly ATR72 is already parked outside (together with a now larger fleet of Tiger Airbuses) waiting to go. It turns out that 9M-FYE, having brought me here earlier, is also bringing me home. Damn.


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No waiting at the gate, we are invited to board immediately. As we walk out onto the tarmac, the distant roar of an Etihad A332 reverse thrust signals the arrival of EY473 on 02C. The plane has just landed from Brisbane and is en route to its home base of Abu Dhabi.


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Most of Tiger Airways' fleet comprise A320s. There are however the odd A319s, of which this is one.


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As I board, the same two stewardesses who flew with me earlier sport welcoming smiles. "Didn't you just fly here with us? Welcome back!" Nice of them to remember, but I reckon it's only because they recall 'that strange guy who kept on taking lots of photos'. They tell me that while I'd been in Singapore, they'd flown a return SIN - Ipoh - SIN flight in between.


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Singapore (Changi, Budget) to Kuala Lumpur (Subang)
Firefly flight 3516 in Economy Class
ATR72-500 9M-FYE
Dept 18h32 Arrv 19h49 (on time)

With all the passengers aboard, we again get away early - this time 8 minutes ahead of schedule. We follow a Cathay B773 - operating the evening CX716 bound for HKG - to runway 02C.


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The parked Jett8 Airlines Cargo B742F is in much worse shape than I thought. Now that I get to have a better look, engine number 4 seems like it had been cannibalized for parts - only it wasn't. According to an Aviation Herald report, the plane while climbing through 7000 feet en route SIN to BKK on Dec 17, 2009 experienced uncontained engine failure of the low pressure turbine and returned for an emergency landing. "The NTSB reported that a post flight examination revealed all engine components (of engine number 4) missing past the S3 nozzles," it said. Wow.


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The flight back to Subang yields far fewer opportunities for pics. Much of the peninsula clouds over in the afternoon and tropical storms are common, making any ride at lower altitude a rather bumpy one. Still, today's not so bad, while the last golden rays of the day are quite nice around these parts.


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The usual inflight snack of muffin and ribena is served, while I enjoy the views of an impending thunderstorm somewhere over an oil palm estate in Johor. As long as we're not planning to fly through it...


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And well, I guess storms of a different kind are still affecting the airline industry. Let's hope the skies clear soon.


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A smooth landing on runway 15 brings us into Subang a couple of minutes ahead of schedule. From the wet tarmac, I can see that we've been lucky to just miss the afternoon thunderstorms here. It's the end of the day for me, but Christy and her colleagues still have another flight to make tonight - to Penang - before ending their day there.


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I breeze through Skypark and within minutes, am in my car and heading home. What a nice "working" day this had been. Hope you enjoyed the ride too!

Best regards and good night
airpearl
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44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinea1ring23 From Australia, joined Jun 2009, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 7 months 3 hours ago) and read 19890 times:

Airpearl,

Another great read from you. Short and sweet.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I was also irresistably drawn to checking the web for flights and fares. And that's always a dangerous thing... for before I knew it, I had a flight booked and paid for

One shares this hobby as well, except my wallet isn't nearly as deep as yours  
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Singapore Airlines' reaction has been to substitute most of its previously all-widebody B777 services with an A32X operation via unit Silk Air

Does SQ do once/twice weekly now, or not even that?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I am not sure whether photography is permitted here - there are a few security-looking guys around - so I try to snap as many pics as discreetly as possible, before I get stopped.

Ah a constant dilemma, one which I have never really come to terms with.

Next time I visit KL/Singapore I will be flying between the two cities, catching the bus last time was a big mistake. Maybe I will try FY's ATR's as well, although flying a 777 on a one-hour leg would be somewhat amusing, if they are still operating then.

Regards,
Pete



Where's the accelerometer on this thing?
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (4 years 7 months 3 hours ago) and read 19744 times:

Hi Airpearl,

very enjoyable report with many nice pictures. Always such a pleasure to read high-quality reports about intra-Asia flights.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Turning indoors instead for excitement, I find the Malaysia Airlines ticketing office on the mezannine floor a tad intriguing. Not because it's any different from the airline's other offices, but for the fact that it's there in the first place - in an airport MH doesn't even serve.

What a cute picture they chose...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I make a leisurely path to the plane, handily hiding my photo-taking behind a busy family.

Well done!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Unlike the other LCCs on the route, Firefly doesn't operate a BoB service, but instead offers a limited snack and drinks selection for free. There are also no hot or canned drinks on offer: I opt for what tastes a bit like Ribena.

Sounds quite good. What is Ribena?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
An SQ Star Alliance 773 is seen pushing back from its stand at Terminal 3 - from the schedules, my guess probably as SQ866 for Hong Kong.

Great short - flew on that bird between DXB and SIN recently. Report to follow.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2486 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (4 years 7 months 3 hours ago) and read 19706 times:

Hi Airpearl,

After I finished reading, I discovered myself sitting in front of my PC. What a pleasure to read your report of Firefly. An attractive budget airline that is. I hope that Firefly will be flying to more cities in Indonesia when of ASEAN Open Sky policy gets implemented.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
before I get stopped.

Did you get stopped? I hope not.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
unlike on AirAsia - welcomes you to take away as a souvenir.

Good to know.

Thank you for sharing and I just cannot wait for the summer to come.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (4 years 7 months 2 hours ago) and read 19575 times:

Reading your trip reports is akin to attending a lecture on Malaysian history. I found this one particularly informative, not because it was about an LCCesque flight, but because it offered me a glimpse into the quirkiness of Malaysian politics and history. A joy to read, as always... it's been quite a while since your last report.


There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1951 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (4 years 7 months ago) and read 19112 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Very good report on an airline you do not hear much about! Thank you for sharing!

767747


User currently offline9MMAR From Malaysia, joined Jul 2006, 2110 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (4 years 7 months ago) and read 18898 times:

Hi Airpearl,

If this report is being posted in MalaysianWings, it would be the 10th million and one trip report to Singapore being posted. I still remember Queen B, in diva-esque mode, mentioned something like "How much can you write about KUL-SIN flight?" or something along the line, but brava, you managed to pull off a great composition of a considerable length. Writing it must consumed more time than the flight duration itself.

First of all...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The oft-used excuse for building a huge, under-utilized airport like KLIA - that Subang had reached saturation point - is therefore largely a myth. Malaysia's grandiose projects may look, simplistically, like just an ego boost for old dictator Mahathir, but they exist only because there are compellingly greedy private profit objectives.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The February issue features Malaysia's first state-sponsored space tourist on the cover doing some very uncosmonaut-like things. (I surely can't be jealous of a guy who was chosen to go on an all-expenses taxpayer-paid trip into space - and transformed overnight into a national celebrity - just because of his looks, can I?)
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Also in the pictures (sorry, they're rather small) you can see 4 MD11Fs belonging to troubled Malaysian cargo carrier Transmile Air. They've been parked there for a while now, particularly since the directors were found to have perpetrated an Enron-like accounting fraud. A former Transport Minister was the company's chairman and of course, nobody's gone to jail... but then that's lovely Malaysia, truly Asia.

... I think you need to be reprogrammed. Malaysia is THE BEST. Malaysia Boleh! LOL!


Second of all...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Meanwhile, the link Firefly provides between Changi and other secondary airports on the Malay peninsula - for the first time in many decades - also harks back to the days when the two countries were one and Singapore was the gateway to Malaysia. Useful as these connections are, why an MH subsidiary is building spokes for a key competitor's hub is quite the mystery to me.

I think it is such a good move by MAHB to finally stop protecting KUL and open up all the other secondary airports in Malaysia for direct international flights to/from SIN. If I could recall, the earlier plan was to connect ALL secondary airports in Peninsular Malaysia with SIN but alas reality showed that AOR and KBR were not materialised because of the absence of refueling facility, MKZ was not materialised at the very last minutes (after FY put a commitment to start flights to/from the airport, which went on million of Ringgit worth of upgrade works for the purpose) due to it's proximity to KUL and Singapore (just 2 hours drive away from the City State - Queen B can testify this I suppose) while JHB is basically located next to SIN. MYY and TWU in East Malaysia on the island of Borneo were also recently being cut from their link to SIN but AK has decided to reinstate SIN-MYY vv back.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Berjaya Air (J8) is one of the two main airlines operating scheduled flights from Skypark. This airline, owned by listed Berjaya Corp, has been around for a long time, but has shown very little ambition beyond bringing customers to islands like Redang and Tioman on which the group has resorts. The airline also provided the only link between Kuala Lumpur and Thailand's Koh Samui for many years - until Firefly started competing on the route last year.

J8 also operates fligths from Tioman to Seletar (the other airport in Singapore) and vice versa, isn't it?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I am not sure what's happened to Terminal Two (which housed the MH/SQ Singapore Shuttle)

Recent discussion with local enthusiasts revealed that SZB Terminal 2 is still exist. There is even an Immigration Office there, which apparently being the 'best kept secret' for its amazingly fast processing time due to its low crowd turnout, unlike the other Immigration Offices throughout the Klang Valley.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Unlike the other LCCs on the route, Firefly doesn't operate a BoB service, but instead offers a limited snack and drinks selection for free.

Which I think makes FY the best carrier that plies the route as far as complimentary meal service is concerned. Even SQ and MH do not serve muffins or other snacks on this route.


Third of all...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Subang's original Terminal One was demolished to make way for this newly constructed Spirit Aerosystems plant below. I don't know what an operational Airbus sub-components factory is supposed to look like, but there doesn't seem like much is happening this Saturday.

Gossip. Psst... I heard the main reason why SZB Terminal 1 was completely demolished is to seal KUL's fate and that no reversal in decision is made at that time.


Fouth of all,

Since you mentioned it,

"(I surely can't be jealous of a guy who was chosen to go on an all-expenses taxpayer-paid trip into space - and transformed overnight into a national celebrity - just because of his looks, can I?)"



You failed to see the underline of the selection of Datuk Sheikh Muzaffar as Malaysia's first ASTRONAUT (we paid billions of Ringgit for it, we should use the correct term LOL). Kids nowadays are generation which emphasize on look first and foremost. Selecting an ugly guy won't do the National Space Program any justice. Who would be interested then? LOL. By the way, I think the most interesting part about the picture is the name of the inflight magazine - Kunang2 (read: kunang-kunang), which is the Malay word for firefly.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Sounds quite good. What is Ribena?

LOL. Ribena is a blackcurrant juice. As a toddler, I stopped consuming milk at the age of 3 and continuing on with Ribena until I reach kindergarden.


And last but not least, I would like to share this music video by Malaysia's vocal group The Fabulous Cats with Airpearl and other A.Netters, which featured SZB, FireFly's ATR (outside and cabin view) and FY stewardess as major props in the song - Bawa Ku Terbang (Take Me Flying).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH7c4nE9LPk


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 7, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 18868 times:

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Ribena is a blackcurrant juice. As a toddler, I stopped consuming milk at the age of 3 and continuing on with Ribena until I reach kindergarden.

Thanks, seems to be good stuff.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Reply 8, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 18241 times:

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Could this discussion have been conducted over the phone? Perhaps. Could I have avoided a day trip to SIN? Maybe. But then, do I need to explain to you the real reason for my "working" so hard that weekend? I guess not, for I suspect you know already.

Welcome to my world. My SIN-Jakarta commutes have been revived with a bang. But nothing beats a meeting face to face to iron out issues even though it can be settled over the phone. Somehow visual emotions seem to drive the message across better. Well, that could just be my sorry excuse for hopping on to a plane. Hahahaha...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Maintaining its multiple-daily B734 KUL-SIN operation more-or-less intact, it wasn't until June last year that it revealed a strategy to counter the new competition.

Well, MH can't get any smaller than the 737-400 now, can they? I have since flown two round trips on FY and I have nothing but praise for this new service into Subang. My KL office is located in Petaling Jaya so you can imagine the convenience of it all!!! It took me a while to convince my boss how convenient this flight would be compared to flying MH/SQ into KLIA. I was a happy camper until some of my other colleagues handling North Asia accounts got on the A380. Idiots... Will I have no affinity with SQ?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
If KLIA's Low Cost Carrier Terminal is used as any sort of a benchmark, this refurbished facility looks, at first brush, upmarket in comparison. There's shops and food outlets aplenty, an impressive star-lit ceiling, leather sofas, free wifi and - assuming the air-conditioning doesn't fail, as it did the last time I used this terminal - a rather pleasant place to while away an hour or two.

Little surprise what a bit of private management does for the facility. Perhaps MAHB does't feel the heat from Skypark as yet so there is no need to get their panties knotted for nothing.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I find the Live Flight Tracking system: as part of the airport's flight information display it's rather interesting, and I like it. This probably works for an airport as small as this, but that map will surely look pretty unwieldy for a busier airfield! As you can see, three Firefly flights are headed here, one domestic from Alor Setar, as well as from Batam and Pekanbaru in Indonesia. A Berjaya Air flight is expected from the resort island of Pangkor.

Now this is a damn fascinating feature! Does it only show flights to and from SZB? I remember my days as as ATC officer, looking into the radar screens over Singapore after 5pm, if you zoom outwards, there are so many aircraft converging into Changi all the images would just cover up the island and Johor Bahru. Hahahah... I used to do it for fun, not when I was controlling, of course.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The February issue features Malaysia's first state-sponsored space tourist on the cover doing some very uncosmonaut-like things. (I surely can't be jealous of a guy who was chosen to go on an all-expenses taxpayer-paid trip into space - and transformed overnight into a national celebrity - just because of his looks, can I?)

I wonder what was the criteria to be chosen? Based on looks, I think I am more gorgeous (then again, I am not a bumi). Is he going up on Richard Branson's Virgin Galatica?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The terminal's targetted - though it may not be met - for completion by end-2011 and AirAsia will be its main tenant.

I noticed cries of "WE'LL DIEEEEEEE IF THERE'S NO NEW LCCT..." has stopped flowing out from Air Asia. The dateline for the new LCCT's completion will definitely not be met but I see that Air Asia is still pretty much alive.


Ah yes... Pusat bandar Melaka... My makan playground. My other half and I do occassionally drive 2 hours from Singapore just to come here and pig out along Jonkers Street. We go from stall to stall along the pasar malam to eat, eat and really eat. Then we drive back to Singapore. Gila eh?


Now this was why airside was bordered up! I see they have added artsy fartsy gigantic warm white lamps shades! Very nice!!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I later find out this is Pulau Sudong, a military training zone for the Singapore Air Force.

Now I have to track you down to kill you...

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 6):
I still remember Queen B, in diva-esque mode, mentioned something like "How much can you write about KUL-SIN flight?" or something along the line

Who the hell is this Queen B? So intriguing...

It seems I am not the only one who can write the hell out of a 5 second commute, you can too!!! Hahahaha...

Cheers
R

[Edited 2010-03-28 18:32:17]

[Edited 2010-03-28 18:35:56]

[Edited 2010-03-28 18:42:07]


Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineBurj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 901 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 18082 times:

O.K. wow.....too cool! Thanks for sharing and for all the details/information about the aviation market in the area!

User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1295 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 17938 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

You've done an incredible job for such a short hop, one of the shortest of the short hauls I think! The amount of attention and detail is equivalent to what one might expect on a long haul. You must have frantically been taking photos, and so nicely shared them here. From photos of aircraft while taxing and from the terminal, to shots from the air which must have been a lot easier to take due to your commuter jet, to shots on the aircraft and in the terminal, you truly spared on detail. And all this on a KUL-SIN-KUL sector!!

User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 952 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 17357 times:

Hey guys, thanks for reading and your comments. This is indeed a short flight that would probably not normally have ended up in a trip report. But heck, it was such a nice day and there were some good views. Makes a change from the long hauls, but with no less work hehe  
Quoting a1ring23 (Reply 1):
Another great read from you. Short and sweet.

Thanks Pete, glad you liked it.

Quoting a1ring23 (Reply 1):
One shares this hobby as well, except my wallet isn't nearly as deep as yours

Haha... it's a hobby that ensures the wallet doesn't stay deep for very long!

Quoting a1ring23 (Reply 1):
Does SQ do once/twice weekly now, or not even that?

Not as bad as that yet. I think the schedules are twice daily on a weekday, and 1/day on a weekend.

Quoting a1ring23 (Reply 1):
Maybe I will try FY's ATR's as well, although flying a 777 on a one-hour leg would be somewhat amusing, if they are still operating then.

That would be a cool combination - SQ (if they're still flying) would be doing the route on A333s - they already are now.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
very enjoyable report with many nice pictures. Always such a pleasure to read high-quality reports about intra-Asia flights.

Hi PH, glad you enjoyed the report and pics!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Great short - flew on that bird between DXB and SIN recently. Report to follow.

Aaah, the mystery of the onward flights is partially solved. Look forward to your views of the SQ experience.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Ribena is a blackcurrant juice. As a toddler, I stopped consuming milk at the age of 3 and continuing on with Ribena until I reach kindergarden.
Thanks, seems to be good stuff.

Yes it is... really a vitamin C supplement and has been around forever, but many kids growing up here love the stuff. And continue drinking it even when much older  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
What a pleasure to read your report of Firefly. An attractive budget airline that is. I hope that Firefly will be flying to more cities in Indonesia when of ASEAN Open Sky policy gets implemented.

Hey Suryo, Firefly is not bad at all, quite a nice little airline. It already flies to a number of Indonesian cities but mainly shorter Sumatra hops. The airline also seems to have reached a plateau of sorts in its growth plans. It'll be interesting to see if MH gives it any more latitude to expand - even if it does, a prop could be stretching it on a flight to central Java  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
Did you get stopped? I hope not.

No, I was okay this time, but you never know these days.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 4):
it offered me a glimpse into the quirkiness of Malaysian politics and history.

Hehe SQ772, glad you enjoyed the history lesson (it's that exciting eh?   ) Malaysian politics meanwhile is always drama filled. a bit like one of these expensive soap operas, but we're like the extras - getting a pittance and always screwed around!

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 4):
A joy to read, as always... it's been quite a while since your last report.

Thanks much, I hope to have more coming up this year. You've been rather quiet too?

Quoting 767747 (Reply 5):
Very good report on an airline you do not hear much about!

Thanks and glad you liked it 767747.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 6):
Writing it must consumed more time than the flight duration itself.

Hahaha... yes I think you're right 9MMAR. I just thought that having done quite a few long haul reports, I should balance this with a couple of short hops - even though they're not as "sexy". Actually, that makes them harder to do.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 6):
I think you need to be reprogrammed. Malaysia is THE BEST. Malaysia Boleh! LOL!

You left out 1Malaysia....  
Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 6):
I think it is such a good move by MAHB to finally stop protecting KUL and open up all the other secondary airports in Malaysia for direct international flights to/from SIN.

Absolutely in the long-term it will likely benefit development in and attract investment to the provinces. But it will undoubtedly be negative on MH, certainly in the short-term, as traffic from its captive markets leaks out via SIN.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 6):
J8 also operates fligths from Tioman to Seletar (the other airport in Singapore) and vice versa, isn't it?

I believe J8 still flies from Seletar to TOD.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 6):
Recent discussion with local enthusiasts revealed that SZB Terminal 2 is still exist. There is even an Immigration Office there, which apparently being the 'best kept secret' for its amazingly fast processing time due to its low crowd turnout, unlike the other Immigration Offices throughout the Klang Valley.

That's useful info, thanks.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 6):
Gossip. Psst... I heard the main reason why SZB Terminal 1 was completely demolished is to seal KUL's fate and that no reversal in decision is made at that time

That sounds quite plausible. Another rumor I am hearing is that FY is planning to move to KUL in preparation for jet operations. I hear it today from a totally non-aviation source who brings up the matter out of the blue (none of my prompting at all), which makes me inclined to believe there's something to this. Have you heard anything?

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 6):
Kunang2 (read: kunang-kunang), which is the Malay word for firefly

Or so I guessed. Not a common word: at least better than calling it Kelip2!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 8):
Well, MH can't get any smaller than the 737-400 now, can they?

Well, they had Fokker 50s!  
Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 8):
I have since flown two round trips on FY and I have nothing but praise for this new service into Subang. My KL office is located in Petaling Jaya so you can imagine the convenience of it all!!

Ah Ryan, you're a firefly fan too! Subang's a no brainer option for PJ.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 8):
Does it only show flights to and from SZB? I remember my days as as ATC officer, looking into the radar screens over Singapore after 5pm, if you zoom outwards, there are so many aircraft converging into Changi all the images would just cover up the island and Johor Bahru. Hahahah... I used to do it for fun, not when I was controlling, of course.

It only covers SZB flights unfortunately. But I didn't know you were an ATC officer? Wow. Must have seemed like an air raid headed for SIN at that time. Some airports (PER is one I can think of) also have this feature on their websites. Pretty cool.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 8):
Ah yes... Pusat bandar Melaka... My makan playground. My other half and I do occassionally drive 2 hours from Singapore just to come here and pig out along Jonkers Street. We go from stall to stall along the pasar malam to eat, eat and really eat. Then we drive back to Singapore. Gila eh?

Hahaha... totally believable, since there's really no street food left in Singapore.   When I've been there, Malacca town's always jam-packed with Singapore registered cars!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 8):
Now I have to track you down to kill you...

That's one strange island. And since the secret's out... what actually goes on there? Don't worry you can tell. It wouldn't go further than this forum.  
Quoting Burj (Reply 9):
Thanks for sharing and for all the details/information about the aviation market in the area!

No problems Burj and thanks for reading.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 10):
You've done an incredible job for such a short hop, one of the shortest of the short hauls I think

Thanks flightsimboy, glad you enjoyed it and hope it wasn't too long winded for you.


User currently offlineAllrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2148 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 17288 times:

A thoroughly enjoyable read, as usual! I flew FY KUA-SIN last year (trip report) and found the flight very relaxing. However, we were served apple juice rather than Ribena!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Meanwhile, the link Firefly provides between Changi and other secondary airports on the Malay peninsula - for the first time in many decades - also harks back to the days when the two countries were one and Singapore was the gateway to Malaysia. Useful as these connections are, why an MH subsidiary is building spokes for a key competitor's hub is quite the mystery to me.

Was there are period of time when regional airports in Malaysia did have a large role to play?

I was perplexed by the size and facilities at KUA (Kuantan) when all they had was up to three daily MH 734 flights from KUL and a single Firefly flight to SIN. Are other Malaysian regional airports similar?



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offline9MMAR From Malaysia, joined Jul 2006, 2110 posts, RR: 18
Reply 13, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 17258 times:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 11):
Another rumor I am hearing is that FY is planning to move to KUL in preparation for jet operations. I hear it today from a totally non-aviation source who brings up the matter out of the blue (none of my prompting at all), which makes me inclined to believe there's something to this. Have you heard anything?

There was a rumour in MW a couple of months back that some of MH's new B738s might go to FY. And since SZB is designated for turboprop operation only commercially, it leads us to believe that FY might move to KUL. But this rumour has since silent down.

But if it comes true, chances are a formation of MH-FY strategy ala SQ-MI will be materialised. If MH transfers many of its regional routes to FY and the airline becomes something like MI to SQ, this is a good development in my opinion.

[Edited 2010-03-29 04:57:34]

User currently offlineNKOPS From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2673 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 16964 times:

Very nice TR and pics.. I always enjoy seeing places I'll probably never get to .. very well done!!


I have no association with Spirit Airlines
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 16900 times:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 11):
Quoting SQ772 (Reply 4):
it offered me a glimpse into the quirkiness of Malaysian politics and history.

Hehe SQ772, glad you enjoyed the history lesson (it's that exciting eh? ) Malaysian politics meanwhile is always drama filled. a bit like one of these expensive soap operas, but we're like the extras - getting a pittance and always screwed around!

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 4):
A joy to read, as always... it's been quite a while since your last report.

Thanks much, I hope to have more coming up this year. You've been rather quiet too?

Heheh... you're right about Malaysian politics. Watching Malaysian politics is like catching an entire season of Desperate Housewives - sex (the infamous hotel scene starring a particular politician with his mistress), blackmail, stains on mattresses (more sex!), and the broken heels etc, while Singapore politics is very much like watching grass grow.

I've been doing at least 2 flights a month for the past 6 months...and I'm losing interest in aviation...*gasp!!!*.... I guess I need to be grounded for a while to help me regain my love of flying. There's only so much "Hot Towel for you sir?" one can handle... perhaps that explains my long periods of absence here.

Regards,

SQ772 @ 2002 KF miles away from SIN

[Edited 2010-03-29 08:33:56]


There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 952 posts, RR: 26
Reply 16, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 16836 times:

Quoting Allrite (Reply 12):
A thoroughly enjoyable read, as usual! I flew FY KUA-SIN last year (trip report) and found the flight very relaxing. However, we were served apple juice rather than Ribena!

Hey Allrite, thanks for your nice words. Hehe I do remember your TR very well - from the baby travels A380 series. Nice!  
Quoting Allrite (Reply 12):
Was there are period of time when regional airports in Malaysia did have a large role to play?

Not in recent history. I think Imperial flying boats used to serve Penang, while Alor Setar was a stop on the old KLM route to Batavia/Jakarta but this was in a different age. On the military side, the Butterworth airport in Penang was also an RAAF airbase for quite a while.

Quoting Allrite (Reply 12):
I was perplexed by the size and facilities at KUA (Kuantan) when all they had was up to three daily MH 734 flights from KUL and a single Firefly flight to SIN. Are other Malaysian regional airports similar?

Kuantan is quite unique I think because of its role as the RMAF's base on the east coast of the peninsula. Perhaps the fact that the prime minister's Najib's constituency is only a short distance down the road from Kuantan makes a difference too!

Quoting NKOPS (Reply 14):
Very nice TR and pics.. I always enjoy seeing places I'll probably never get to

Well, you'll just never know NKOPS. Thanks for the comments.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 13):
But if it comes true, chances are a formation of MH-FY strategy ala SQ-MI will be materialised. If MH transfers many of its regional routes to FY and the airline becomes something like MI to SQ, this is a good development in my opinion.

But FY will surely lose its competitive edge if it moves to KUL. One of the reasons why pax choose FY is because it flies to/from close-by SZB. Transferring routes from MH to FY will probably save a little money (assuming FY's operating costs are below MH's) but I would imagine it'll cost trying to sell the FY brand in markets where MH was already well-known. It'll be interesting to see what develops.

[Edited 2010-03-29 08:54:09]

User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 952 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 16823 times:

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 15):
There's only so much "Hot Towel for you sir?" one can handle... perhaps that explains my long periods of absence here.

You do know what the problem is right? You should, every once in a while, try those airlines that don't offer "hot towel Sir?" Then I am sure you'd have something to write about  


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 16470 times:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 11):
When I've been there, Malacca town's always jam-packed with Singapore registered cars!

Yes, we are somewhat responsible for jamming up Melaka on the weekends. Just like how Bandung is choked thanks to the Jakartans. You are right, street food is rare these days we become so deprived. The kids now know nothing beyond a food court or a fast-food joint. It is sad, really.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 17):

You do know what the problem is right? You should, every once in a while, try those airlines that don't offer "hot towel Sir?" Then I am sure you'd have something to write about

Please, you might as well as him to wear women's undies and prance about Orchard Rd at noon.  



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineAllrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2148 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 16380 times:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 16):

Kuantan is quite unique I think because of its role as the RMAF's base on the east coast of the peninsula. Perhaps the fact that the prime minister's Najib's constituency is only a short distance down the road from Kuantan makes a difference too!

I'm sure it was justified by claiming it was set to become an International Hub that would open up the East Coast to the rest of the world (sorry, just borrowing words from various Australian regional airports   ).

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 18):
Please, you might as well as him to wear women's undies and prance about Orchard Rd at noon.

I take it you've asked him then. 



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 16065 times:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 17):
You do know what the problem is right? You should, every once in a while, try those airlines that don't offer "hot towel Sir?" Then I am sure you'd have something to write about

Are there airlines that do not offer "hot towels"??? The last few carriers that I've flown recently offered hot towels...CI, QF, NH, OZ.....  Wow!
Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 18):
Please, you might as well as him to wear women's undies and prance about Orchard Rd at noon.

Smart a$$... I can't it help it if my privileged life doesn't revolve around LCCs, nor has it come to stage where I need to fly LCCs just so that I can squeeze in more holidays a year... 
Quoting Allrite (Reply 19):
I take it you've asked him then.

Lets just say that you have a much higher chance seeing him do that on any given day along Orchard Road, rain or shine... And no he hasn't asked me, he knows full well that he won't be able to respond to my comebacks intelligently if he does...  

[Edited 2010-03-30 09:22:59]


There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Reply 21, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 15647 times:

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 20):
And no he hasn't asked me, he knows full well that he won't be able to respond to my comebacks intelligently if he does...  

Oh how I have missed you so. Don't you want to see me anymore so you can verbally abuse me?



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Reply 22, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 15334 times:

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
National auto maker Proton's test track is visible (left), as is its main car factory located adjacent.

Hmm... I was readng your report again... So they DO have test track. So why is the latest Proton Saga so off-balanced? The body roll was so pronounced I almost flipped the car going around a round-about in Kota Kinabalu. Must be the damn factory fitted Playmobil wheels they have.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 15228 times:

Good to read Airpearl's TR again, in my opinion one of the most skilled writers here on A.net. Thanks a lot for the pictures, the history trivias and the small details which make your TRs some of the most entertaining reads around.

[Edited 2010-04-01 06:35:19]

User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10905 posts, RR: 37
Reply 24, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 15053 times:

This is a really good trip report. I have learned quite a bit in here, especially about Firefly and Subang airport which I thought had been closed for time immemorial at least since they opened KLIA.

Always nice to see these trip reports about KL and Singapore where I was just some days ago. SKD was my Big Bird to Zurich for the first SQ380 to that airport.

I will have to try this to KL next time around especially with the ATR42s and the low scenic flying. What is the cost for the round trip fare by the way, like without buying it in advance? How can we get to Subang without a car? Is there any public transport from the city - let's say one of the major hotels?

Thank you very much for this trip report. I find it quite interesting and educational.   



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
25 Post contains images airpearl : Haha, you're not far off actually! Kuantan is indeed a key hub for Malaysia's East Coast Economic Region (ECER) - more great opportunities to fell tr
26 BNE : Great trip report with so much information about Malaysia, your reports would probably give Ryanair a run for your money both great writers. Malaysia
27 ba319-131 : Hi Airpearl, Interesting report & nice pix, thanks for posting. I have to say I never knew this airport still exisited, interesting to see it is,
28 allrite : Back during a trip to Singapore in 2005 we had to pick my mother-in-law up from Terminal 1 in Changi at around 4am on a Saturday morning. Land side t
29 Post contains images Reifel : Very interesting report with a lot of nice details for such a short flight. I must say Subang airport looks somehow exotic, at least the terminal you'
30 Post contains images ronerone : Hey Airpearl! What an absolutely fantastic Trip Report! .. A very rare insight into Firefly and Subang! I had no idea a TR was brewing up after that t
31 Post contains images abrelosojos : Seriously, I add to the amazement of how you can make a short flight into such a wonderful TR. I am beginning to think that Ryanair!!! might have some
32 gardermoen : Hello, interesting report and nice pictures. When one thinks of Singapore Changi, one rarely associates with it small turbo prop aircaft, so this repo
33 Post contains images airpearl : Hahaha... thanks BNE. I don't think I have Ryan's wacky imagination that makes even mundane trips an adventure! I presume that's a question... yes it
34 ronerone : Very interesting. The private jet experience is supposed to be something completely different to what are used to. Takes the fun out of the whole exp
35 FlyingFinn76 : Whoa! What I thought from the title to be quite a mundane account of two simple flights down to and from SIN turned out to be a very interesting read
36 Econojetter : Hey glad you wrote this up! This has turned out to be a very educational guided aerial tour down the west coast. By the way, what was the cruising alt
37 The777Man : Excellent report with very nice pictures! Nice to read about a trip about a lesser known airline like FY and on a major route between KL and SIN. The7
38 Post contains images airpearl : Absolutely. The most memorable experiences are the ones that come with a healthy dollop of hassle, dirt and grime. Of course, that coming from the pe
39 ryanair!!! : Last time I was told it was FL 120 on the way to KL.
40 sq772 : Are the self-service kiosks at KUL CUSS or dedicated?
41 Post contains images NZ107 : Hi Airpearl, Another great TR, rather unique in terms of the route flown! Great detail, thanks for sharing! I got onto replying on this TR too late an
42 lukeyboy95 : Airpearl - A really great report on this route. Sabang looks really neat, and a very pleasant experience. It is also nice to understand how the variou
43 ycp81 : Just did MH on SIN-KUL/KUL-SIN enroute to NRT and they do also serve peanuts and juices onboard too on the SIN-KULv.v sector. Will post a trip report
44 Post contains images airpearl : Thanks, sounds about right. Much more fun than FL 270 on an MH 734. All common, none are dedicated. However, only something like half a dozen airline
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