Singapore aviation authority says flight QZ8501 approval ‘based on air rights’


So there were air rights given, at least from the Singapore end. Well, come Monday, Indonesian authorities are set to clarify. This will allay fears, especially with regard to insurance claims and payouts.

Malaysian Insider reported today that the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said it had given its approval for the Surabaya-Singapore flight service by Indonesia AirAsia based on air rights available under air services deal between both countries.

They were responding to the revelation that Indonesian authorities had not given AirAsia a licence to operate flights in that sector on Sundays, which was when AirAsia flight QZ8501 had crashed, the Singapore Straits Times reported earlier today.

CAAS said Indonesia AirAsia had applied to operate a daily flight between Surabaya and Singapore, arriving at Changi Airport at 8.30am and departing for Surabaya at 2.10pm.

The application was only for a limited period, that is October 26 last year to March 6 this year, CAAS said.

“These daily flights were approved as there were available air traffic rights under the bilateral air services agreement and the slots at Changi Airport were available,” the Singapore daily quoted a CAAS official as saying.

AirAsia flight QZ8501 had crashed into the Java Sea early Sunday morning while flying from Surabaya to Singapore.

There were 155 passengers on board, including 16 children and one infant. The passengers comprise 149 Indonesians, three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian and one Briton.

The airline had been operating the sector at a frequency of four times a week – Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays – that is, until yesterday.

Indonesia’s transport ministry had temporarily suspended Indonesia AirAsia’s Surabaya-Singapore flights as of yesterday because it had apparently “operated the service beyond the scope of its licence”.

According to Straits Times, CAAS said: “Airlines may adjust their flight frequencies in the course of a season in response to market demand or operational requirements.”

The reply from CAAS came after Indonesia’s transport ministry said it will investigate all Indonesia AirAsia flight schedules from Monday, as part of a government investigation into the passenger jet that crashed.

“We are going to investigate all AirAsia flight schedules,” Djoko Muratmodjo, acting general director for air navigation in the transport ministry, said today.

“Hopefully we can start on next Monday. We won’t focus on licences, just schedules,” he said, adding: “It is possible AirAsia’s licence in Indonesia might be revoked.”

“We will also investigate the party that gave permission to AirAsia to fly on that day,” Muratmodjo added, according to Straits Times.

Indonesia AirAsia chief executive officer Sunu Widyatmoko said the airline would cooperate with the investigation into the Surabaya-Singapore route, but declined to answer further questions. – January 3, 2015.


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