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Malaysia regains Category 1 status in US air safety ranking
Published on: Saturday, October 01, 2022
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Malaysia regains Category 1 status in US air safety ranking
With this upgrade in status, Malaysian carriers can establish new services to the United States.
PETALING JAYA: The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has restored the air safety ranking for the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to Category 1, three years after downgrading it.

In 2019, FAA downgraded it to Category 2 after the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) found that CAAM had failed to comply with aviation safety standards.

As a result of the downgrade, Malaysian carriers were not allowed to establish new services to the United States but were allowed to continue their existing services.

In 2003, Malaysia was assigned a Category 1 rating, meaning CAAM had complied with ICAO standards for aviation safety oversight.

Transport minister Wee Ka Siong said the past two years had been a crucial period for CAAM as the whole organisation had to be restructured due to the 2019 assessment.

“These 33 findings (under the assessment) resulted in a downgrading of Malaysia to Category 2 under the IASA,” he said.

Various efforts were carried out to strengthen its workforce, documentation and develop a comprehensive training policy for the inspectors to ensure effective safety oversight was carried out for the civil aviation industry, Wee added.

“In 2021, the FAA team came back for a full reassessment, and they were impressed with how much CAAM had transformed,” he added.

According to Wee, from the new assessment that took place last December, there were 29 findings in total. He said that the 33 findings that were picked up in 2019 did not reoccur.

He added that when the FAA team returned for a reassessment in mid-July 2022, all the corrective action plans had been carried out successfully.

Meanwhile, airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) welcomed the Category1 rating, saying it would strengthen Malaysia’s position as an aviation hub and increase the country’s network connectivity.

Managing director Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said the transport ministry and CAAM had put in massive efforts to ensure that Malaysia’s IASA Category 1 rating was reinstated.

He said the better rating would help in MAHB’s marketing efforts to attract more airlines to operate in Malaysia, thus increasing the country’s network connectivity and hub potential.

“The reinstatement will enhance global confidence in the quality of our air navigation services,” he said.

AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd group CEO Bo Lingam said the reinstatement would open more opportunities for the low-cost airline’s future medium to long-haul network plans, especially to the US and other Asian countries, including Japan and Korea.

“After an industry reset following the pandemic, this announcement could not have come at a better time as travel demand picks up.

“Category 1 safety rating will not only allow us to expand our future network plans but also stabilise the country’s aviation industry as a whole,” he said.

AirAsia X currently operates to the US directly, flying to Honolulu, Hawaii, through Osaka, Japan.

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