KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 9): AirAsia Group Bhd, Asia's largest low-cost carrier by volume, received the highest number of air traffic rights allocations last year, at 75.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) approved 173 applications for air traffic rights in 2019. This represented 98.9% of the 175 applications it received.
In a statement today, the aviation regulator said of the 173 approved applications, 60 air traffic rights were for domestic destinations, 60 for Asean destinations, 26 for destinations in China and the remaining 27 for other Asian destinations and Australia.
In the past, AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes had criticised Mavcom for rejecting several route applications even though bilateral traffic rights are available with other countries, deeming it an unfair practice.
Meanwhile, a total of 37 air traffic rights applications were approved in the fourth quarter of 2019 (4Q2019). This represented 94.8% of total applications received by the commission for the quarter.
"Malindo Airways Sdn Bhd received the highest number of approvals with 15 air traffic rights, while AirAsia got 10 allocations and Malaysia Airlines Bhd, seven," said Mavcom.
"Of the 37 approved air traffic rights, 12 were for domestic routes and the remaining 25 were for international routes," it added.
Approvals for international routes were further broken down into 15 air traffic rights for routes to Asean destinations, five for destinations in China, three for destinations in the Middle-East, and two for other Asian destinations.
Mavcom also noted that 27 air traffic rights that were approved prior to 4Q2019 were not utilised and were subsequently returned to the commission.
"The highest number of unutilised air traffic rights was from AirAsia (16) and Malaysia Airlines (six). An additional five applications were also voluntarily withdrawn by AirAsia (two) and Malaysia Airlines (three) in that period," it said.