SKS Airways, a start-up passenger charter company in Malaysia, has started to launch its operations sometime in the fourth quarter this year, i.e., December 2021. Originally set to commence its scheduled air service operations in 2019, the Malaysian start-up aims to set its soft launch next month.
SKS Airways got its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) on October 1, permitting it to use the aircraft on commercial routes. It has yet to receive its full Air Service License (ASL) required to start flying. The airline website says that the airline is at the final stage of getting full ASL, although it got the conditional ASL issued on March 1, 2019. The full ASL allows the start-up to schedule its inaugural operations sometime in December this year.
Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) is the provider of an Air Service License to SKS Airways and other start-up carriers. SKS Airways’ conditional ASL has been prolonged through February 28 next year. ASL is necessary to operate air transportation with a fixed schedule such as timetabled commercial flights for passengers, mail, or cargo for hire or reward between two places, one of which falls within Malaysia’s borders.
MAVCOM issues an ASL to those holding a valid AOC from CAAM. SKS Airways hasn’t demonstrated specific flight schedules or exact inaugural dates, but its website says that the start-up will focus its air service operations on popular island-based resorts, coastal resorts connecting big cities within Peninsular Malaysia, offering affordable fares and flexible flight schedules for holiday travelers. The route map reveals the connectivity service of Kuala Lumpur Subang with cities like Pangkor, Pulau Redang, Tioman, including John Bahru- the base of SKS Airways with Tioman..
The airline plans to begin operations with at least two De Haviland Canada Series 300 Twin Otter DHC-6-300s. SKS Airways retains the ownership of 4 such aircraft types. The other two twin otters are kept at storage at Berne Airport. SKS Airways is a tourism-oriented airline seeking to cater to the needs of popular island resort owners and tour agencies that avail of holiday package tours by connecting resort islands off the coast of peninsular Malaysia.
SKS Airways has postponed its soft launch several times in the past. Although Johor-based SKS group worked to make its debut since April 2019, a series of delays and testing setbacks held back the carrier from taking off to the skies.
SKS Airways is headquartered at Johor Bahru but uses Kuala Lumpur’s Subang Airport as its main base of flight operations. The new airline introduces itself to a commercial airline adopting a ‘hybrid’ business model serving domestic short-haul leisure, commuter, and charter flights.
Malaysia’s aviation industry has suffered overcapacity and irrational competition among airlines and a devastating COVID-19 strike over past years. The air travel market struggled to survive at such a critical juncture brought to by the wave of the coronavirus pandemic. But now, as both domestic and international travel is rejuvenating, Malaysian airlines are prepared to accommodate the rebounding air traffic. SKS Airways is unlikely to compete directly against existing carriers as it mainly targets island holiday travelers and focuses on serving small-scale markets.
About SKS Airways
SKS Airways was established on November 13, 2017, forming a part of SKS Group founded by Alan Sim See Kiong, who is a chairman of SKS Group of Companies. The group represents a multi-discipline organization that oversees business spanning property development, investment holdings, hospitality, and credit finances in countries like Malaysia and Australia. Although incorporated four years before now, the airline hasn’t got quite the opportunity to inaugurate its launching event. Now, the airline is scheduled to commence its inaugural flight sometime in December this year as it has already achieved a historic milestone with the granting of the AOC certificate.
The start-up airline visualizes being a leader in air service operation in Malaysia and consequently a key player at the regional and international level. The fleet of SKY Airways currently includes 4 DHC6-Twin Otter turboprop aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with Short Take-Off and Land (STOL) capabilities to provide alternative air transportation to remote island boats. Malaysia will enjoy the perk of having SKS Airways bringing tourists within the country, offering them affordable air travel to suit their holiday requirements. The slowly picking-up holiday trends and soon-to-be obtained ASL have strengthened the potentiality of SKS Airways to commence its scheduled operations next month without further delay.