DALLAS — MYAirline (Z9), the Malaysian peninsula’s newest airline, is cleared to take to the skies with all necessary permits in place.
Founded in 2021, the new airline will operate as an all-low-cost carrier based out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s (KUL) KLIA2 Terminal and will be neighbor the giant, Air Asia (AK). Not easy to go head-on with the pioneer of low-cost flying in the region but perhaps with its differentiation, it could pave the way forward.
One of the most prominent upsides for the carrier is its reduced aircraft lease rates. Taking advantage of this, it’s secured as many aircraft as possible—over 50 aircraft in the next five to seven years. Another standout product offering is its stylish, brand-new seats. Designed in Italy, the new all-light, comfortable seats are the first for any airline.
Airways carried out a brief exchange with Rayner Teo, CEO of Z9. Here’s what he has to say.
SG: What was the opening you saw in the Malaysian market to start a new airline from scratch? Does a new airline fit into the current Malaysian economy, given the ongoing circumstances?
RT: The pandemic provides the right opportunity to start a new airline due to the low cost of leasing, retrenched talents, etc. Wanted to provide a viable option to travelers with better services
You’ve been at AirAsia for a long time, and it’s fair to say many of the MYAirline team are ex-AirAsia. How did you bring about this team?
Yes, I have been in AirAsia for 15 years but what people do not know is that I started my career in the airline industry, from MAS to IATA.
We have a fairly strong team in various portfolios but most came from airline backgrounds. Most of them were my former colleagues and they are familiar with my working style, leadership, and credibility. There is also this bit about the opportunity to be part of a start-up team for an airline that does not come so often.
You’ll compete with AirAsia, as I believe you’ll offer lower fares. Any comment?
We focus on ourselves and our products, especially on our USP, which is pertinent to us. Our differentiation and one of our USPs will be in our services. We will not have bots in our customer center —we will have human beings who will reply to all your queries.
Being a new start-up, we do not carry ‘baggage’ —we ensure that we have a strong cost structure so we can offer value-for-money fares. Cost is fundamental to us as a low-cost carrier; hence, we are taking steps as stated above and will ensure we keep our cost efficient in our operations as well.
How and where will you further differentiate? What would your fares be, compared to pre-COVID?
We are the new age airline. We are the first airline that went through the first digitalized compliance questionnaire audit in Malaysia during our AOC.
We are going green by fitting our planes with ergonomic and light seats and instead of carrying manuals, all our pilots will carry an iPad for their flights.
As mentioned above, we are keeping our cost structure low so we can offer affordable fares to our passengers.
Are lower aircraft lease rates one of your major benefits?
We believe so, and we have worked hard to get the best deals when we speak to our lessors and this is mostly due to the recent pandemic.
Also, we managed to hire good talents who were furloughed/retrenched due to the pandemic as well.
Initial Network? Penang, Langkawi, and Johor Bahru I’d presume? When do you think you’ll go international?
Yes, we will start within Malaysia first. We will go international by the first quarter of 2023.
What kind of load factors and outlook do you have for the first six months of operation?
Load factors – 80% and hopefully it will be higher in time to come.
As a new start-up amidst an ever-volatile industry, if things do go wrong, what could they be?
The volatility of fuel prices and natural hazards will dampen the demand for travel.
Thank you for your time.
With the Malaysian start-up having been awarded its Air Services License from the country’s regulators, it is ready to take to the skies.
Featured image: MyAirline