Air Transport World

Stretching the rainbow. (Pelangi Air seeking to expand air service beyond Malaysia)

Kuala Lumpur-Pelangi Air could become a major Southeast Asian regional-and perhaps even intercontinental-operator if the ambitions of Capt. Ismail Abu Baker, its general manager, are realized.

Formed in 1987 to take over the operations of bankrupt Macair (MAC), the "rainbow airline"-Pelangi is the Malaysian word for rainbow-operates mainly commuter services within the peninsula of Malaysia (ATW, 9/88). Recently, however, it has expanded its operations to serve three nearby Indonesian points, Batam, Padang and Pekanbaru, and received authorization to fly to Hat Yai, just across the Thai border.

Captain Ismail, as he usually is called, became something of a national hero last year, when the Pelangi Air Dornier 228 he was piloting won the Paris-Langkawi (Malaysia)-Paris international air race. He is acquainted personally with Malaysia's Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, and does not hesitate to use these contacts to put forward his ideas for the development of his airline, even though these may not always coincide with the views of Pelangi Air's 10-member board of directors, which is chaired by Tan Sri Dato' Haji Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman, managing director of Malaysia Airlines. …

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