AirAsia and Batik Air Secure Traffic Rights as Malaysia Boosts Aviation Sector

The recovery of the aviation industry in Southeast Asia has been a gradual process following the pandemic, but Malaysia’s regulatory authority has injected fresh momentum this week. The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) has recently granted traffic rights to 57 new destinations, surpassing the number of applications received during the pre-COVID period of 2019.

In the second quarter of 2023, MAVCOM has allocated 57 Air Traffic Rights (ATRs) to Malaysia’s civil aviation landscape. These rights encompass 45 international routes and 12 domestic routes. Impressively, this quarter saw a substantial 87.5% increase in ATR applications compared to the same period last year, signaling a notable resurgence in the aviation sector.

On the flip side, ATR applications for Q2 displayed a 12% decrease in comparison to the preceding quarter of this year. However, these figures still stand 5% higher than the ATR applications recorded in Q2 of 2019, before the pandemic hit. Further highlighting the sector’s revival, the 45 ATRs granted for international travel marked a significant 36% rise compared to 2019.

The lion’s share of these rights was awarded to AirAsia, along with its logistics arm Teleport, collectively receiving 16 ATRs for both international and domestic routes. An additional highlight for AirAsia X is the newfound permission for up to four weekly flights to Almaty, Kazakhstan. Teleport, on the other hand, has secured ATRs for cargo routes spanning from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur, as well as to various destinations within East Malaysia such as Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, and Kuching. The recent acquisition of its first Airbus A321P2F in July is a clear indication of Teleport’s expansion plans, with CEO Tony Fernandes revealing intentions to add two more by year-end and an additional seven within the next 18 months.

Beyond AirAsia X, Batik Air Malaysia has also identified promising prospects in Central Asia. The airline has successfully secured rights for daily flights to Tashkent, Kazakhstan, establishing a significant milestone as the first Malaysian operator to serve these routes. Notably, Batik Air Malaysia has also been granted traffic rights to operate flights to Okinawa, Japan, via Taipei, Taiwan.

Another key player, MYAirline, the Malaysian low-cost carrier that inaugurated operations in December 2022, is equally capitalizing on growth opportunities. MAVCOM’s approval has allowed MYAirline to extend its wings to essential international destinations, including Jakarta and Bali in Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang in Vietnam, as well as Phuket and Krabi in Thailand. With its recent launch of flights to Bangkok in June, the latest ATR approvals will empower MYAirline to further expand its services to popular vacation spots in Thailand.