Sunday, June 22, 2014

Flyjet yet to obtain license to fly out of Subang airport

SERI KEMBANGAN: After years of delay, Country Heights Holdings Bhd founder Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew's privately-owned Flyjet Sdn Bhd is still waiting for a license to operate a private jet service out of the airport in Subang.

Lee did not want to commit to a timeline for start of operations, saying that it depends on authorities' approval, but assured that operations would be based at Skypark Terminal, Subang.

"I think the problem (for the delay of obtaining a license) is our country is more stringent, the approval procedure is very stringent," he told SunBiz after Country Heights' AGM last Friday.

In July last year, SunBiz reported that Lee's planned venture was caught by an unofficial "freeze" on new air service permits (ASPs) for Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor due to congestion issues.

He however denied this, saying that the delay is mainly due to the need for stringent checks for its aircraft.

Lee said Flyjet is well-prepared to start its operation, having three planes at hand, but as the approval is still pending, thus it is yet to operate.

"We actually have three planes already, two Bombardier Challenger 601 and one Boeing 737-33A (models)…(we are) waiting for the license from the Ministry of Transport.

"(But) all my airplane are not new airplanes, they're used airplanes….they (the authorities) have to check and check," he added.

Lee believes the market response for its private jet service will be encouraging, judging from the current demand.

"Malaysia doesn't have proper air operator's certificate (AOC) for private charter, a lot of people are chartered illegally," he said.

Lee said the targeted customers for its private jet services are golfers, which include its golf clubs' members.

"The concept is very interesting…I always believe (in) private jet…I have this dream (of doing private jet chartering business) when I was 40 years old.

"Owning a private jet is very costly, so I have things called a fly option (where) you're buying golf membership from me, then at the same time, you will have free flying time," he said.

Lee said Flyjet plans to invest up to US$50 million (RM161 million) in the future to buy more planes, if the business is doing well.

"We encourage the businesses to make Malaysia as a hub...our customers not only in Malaysia," he added.

It's planes, with a capacity of maximum 40 people, are able to fly up to five to six hours, traveling to many countries in the region.

According to filings with Companies Comission of Malaysia, Flyjet, which was incorporated in September 2009, has three directors sitting on board – Lee himself, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad as the chairman, and Mohd Azha Jalil as the CEO.

Lee is the largest shareholder with 19.12 million shares, while his daughter Diani Lee Cheng Ni and Mahathir hold one share each.

The company is still listed as dormant.


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