Air traffic rights applications jumped 233% in 4Q20

By SHAHEERA AZNAMSHAH / Pic RAZAK GHAZALI

THE application rate for air traffic rights (ATR) jumped 233% in the fourth quarter of 2020 (4Q20) compared to its previous quarter due to the increased demand for scheduled air cargo services and new domestic routings.

Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) in a statement yesterday noted that it received 43 ATR applications from airlines and approved 40 applications for the period between October and December 2020.

“The ATR application rate increased by 233% compared to 12 ATR applications received in the previous quarter due to increased applications for scheduled air cargo services and new domestic routings,” Mavcom stated.

It added that a total of 14 ATR applications were approved for international destinations, while the remaining 26 were for domestic routes.

Of the 14 applications approved for international destinations, four were for the routes to China, two for destinations in Europe, two destinations in India and the remaining six for other Asian destinations.

For airport’s applications, 17 rights were issued for flights originating from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, six from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, five from Kota Kinabalu International Airport and 12 from other Malaysian airports.

Elaborating further on the rights approved based on airlines, Mavcom said Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) received the highest number of approvals totalling 11 rights, while AirAsia Group Bhd received the second-highest number of approvals of 10 ATRs.

“My Jet Xpress Airlines Sdn Bhd, Raya Airways Sdn Bhd and FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd followed with nine, six and four ATR approvals respectively,” it said.

Mavcom executive chairman Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim said the cargo segment has been growing in tandem with logistics needs, while local airlines have been catching up to the demand.

“While the path to recovery for the aviation sector will be a long one, we are already seeing pockets of growth in the cargo segment.

“As the economic regulator for the civil aviation industry, the commission recognises the difficulties faced by airlines resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and is conscious of the need to facilitate airlines as they endeavour to resume full services.

“Effective June 4, 2020, Mavcom temporarily relaxed a condition of the ATR, which automatically revokes unutilised ATRs within six months from the date of the ATR approval,” Saripuddin said.

He added that the measure was implemented to alleviate the administrative challenges faced by airlines and allow scheduled airlines to keep their current ATR portfolio active.

“As a result, no ATRs have expired between Oct 1 and Dec 31, 2020, and we will continue to work towards reviving the aviation sector,” he said.