KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 (Bernama) -- Aviation industry players have applauded the reinstatement of Malaysia’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating to Category 1 (Cat1) by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In a statement today, airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said the Cat1 rating would strengthen Malaysia’s position as an aviation hub and increase the country’s network connectivity.
Managing director Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said the Ministry of Transport Malaysia (MOT) and Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) had put in massive efforts to ensure that Malaysia’s IASA Cat1 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.
“It is truly commendable considering that this was done while the national aviation industry is still dealing with the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The reinstatement will enhance global confidence in the quality of our air navigation services,” he said.
In a separate statement, AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd group chief executive officer Bo Lingam said the reinstatement was set to 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 South Korea, as they would grant the relevant regulatory approvals based on FAA standards.
“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.
He added that regaining the category also boded well for the group’s burgeoning maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) subsidiary, Asia Digital Engineering (ADE), as it would boost its service for regional and potentially other international airlines.
AirAsia X is currently the only airline in the group that operates to the US directly, flying to Honolulu, Hawaii, through Osaka, Japan.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) expressed confidence that CAAM, under the leadership of chief executive officer Datuk Captain Chester Voon and the rest of the management team, would be able to make significant contributions to the development of civil aviation’s safety and security in Malaysia.
MAG was part of a task force that was formed to identify root causes, corrective action plans, and corrective measures in response to the downgrade in 2019.
Earlier, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong announced the country’s air safety rating had been restored to Cat1 after all 33 issues raised by the FAA were resolved, noting that issues raised in 2019 initially did not reoccur.
In November 2019, Malaysia was assigned Category 2 in its air safety rating under the IASA programme by the FAA due to non-compliance with the ICAO safety standards.
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