In the second quarter Malaysian regulator MAVCOM received 87% more applications for new routes than in Q2 2022.
Air travel in Southeast Asia has been taking longer to bounce back from the pandemic compared to other parts of Asia. However, Malaysia’s aviation authority provided a boost recently. The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) approved traffic rights for 57 new destinations. This surge in approvals happened because more applications were received compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic hit.
Greater Connectivity to the ASEAN Region
During the second quarter of 2023 (Q2 2023), MAVCOM granted 57 Air Traffic Rights (ATRs) to Malaysia’s civil aviation industry, which encompassed 45 routes for international travel and 12 routes for domestic travel. In contrast to the corresponding quarter of the previous year, the commission experienced a substantial 87.5% increase in ATR applications. This surge in applications is seen as an indicator of the renewed energy within the aviation sector.
On the other hand, there was a 12% decrease in ATR applications during Q2 when compared to the initial quarter of this year. However, these figures were still 5% higher than those observed in the Q2 of 2019, prior to the pandemic. Another positive sign indicating heightened activity and optimism was the notable 36% rise in the 45 ATRs granted for international travel in comparison to 2019.
AirAsia and its logistics division, Teleport, secured the largest number of rights, acquiring 16 ATRs for both international and domestic routes. Specifically, AirAsia X gained rights for up to four weekly flights to Almaty in Kazakhstan. Additionally, Teleport obtained ATRs for cargo routes connecting Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur, as well as to various destinations in East Malaysia, including Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, and Kuching. In July, Teleport welcomed its first Airbus A321P2F, with CEO Tony Fernandes mentioning plans for two more within this year and an additional seven within the next 18 months.
Central Asia is now connected to the network originating from KL
AirAsia X is not the sole Malaysian airline recognizing potential in Central Asia. Batik Air Malaysia has also obtained permissions for daily flights to Tashkent in Kazakhstan. Both AirAsia X and Batik Air Malaysia are trailblazers, marking their roles as the initial Malaysian carriers to operate along the two Kazakhstan routes. Moreover, Batik Air Malaysia has secured traffic rights to operate flights to Okinawa in Japan via Taipei in Taiwan.
The Malaysia Aviation Group, encompassing Malaysia Airlines, Firefly, MASwings, and AMAL, is establishing Kota Kinabalu as a hub for flights within Southeast Asia. This initiative has received support from MAVCOM, which has provided Firefly with traffic rights to operate flights from Kota Kinabalu to Tokyo Narita and Taipei.
MYAirline, a Malaysian budget airline that took its first flight in December 2022, is also making strides in obtaining significant international routes as part of its expansion efforts. MAVCOM has granted MYAirline ATR approvals for routes to key destinations, including Jakarta and Bali in Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang in Vietnam, and Phuket and Krabi in Thailand. The airline started flying to Bangkok in June, and these recent ATR approvals will enable it to offer more flights to well-liked vacation spots in Thailand.