Independent Bangladeshi carrier Regent Airways has inaugurated flights between Dhaka and the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, becoming the seventh new airline to launch flights at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The carrier, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chittagong-based business conglomerate Habib Group, introduced operations on the route from July 15, 2013 but already plans to boost its operations.
Regent Airways was formed in 2010 and launched operations in November the same year with a fleet of two 50-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q300s. Up until now its focus has been on the domestic Bangladesh market but the arrival of two Boeing 737-700s is facilitating a change to its business model and the launch of international flights.
The first 737 was delivered earlier this month on six-year lease from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) and will be followed by a second example that will pave the way for new connections to Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. Both aircraft are to be configured in a two-class arrangement seating 12 passengers in Business Class and 114 in Economy.
Regent’s international launch places it directly into competition with Malaysia Airlines, Biman Bangladesh Airlines and United Airways Bangladesh but Y.Bhg. Dato’ Azmi Murad, Malaysia Airports’ Senior General Manager of Operations Services believes there remains untapped demand between Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur. “There is a massive potential for this route and I am confident that the airline is poised to gain from the good demand on this sector,” he said.
The carrier will initially offer four flights per week but will increase to a daily operation from August 1, 2013. In 2012 an estimated 292,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur with average one way fares of $144. This is a figure that has fallen from around $325 in 2007 due to the increased competition on this route pair.