Malaysia plans to move quickly to regain US safety status

November 13, 2019

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia says it is working to fix faults found in a US Audit of its operations and has asked to be re-assessed within 12 months.

The decision by the Federal Aviation Administration to downgrade CAAM  from Category 1 to Category 2 has embarrassed Malaysia and led to the resignation of the authority’s chief executive.

The move does not affect existing services to the US by Malaysia airlines but means they cannot add new services and may have some impact on codeshares.

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CAAM said audit covered areas of legislations, oversight, delegation of authority as well as the adequacy of a number of the authority’s technical personnel.

“Whilst CAAM acknowledges that in carrying out its duties as an aviation regulator some shortcomings exist, we wish to emphasize that the assessment only covered CAAM’s role as an aviation regulator,’’ it said in a statement.

“This categorization is NOT an assessment of airlines, airports or air traffic services that fall under the purview of CAAM.”

The Malaysian regulator said plans were already underway to address the audit findings and the request for the FAA review was aimed at getting its Category 1 status restored.

“CAAM continues to contribute to the development and oversight of aviation via its seat on the ICAO Council,” it added.

“It also remains fully in compliance with all ICAO standards and legislation, having being audited by ICAO as recently as the middle of 2019.

“Given the critical nature of aviation, CAAM takes the FAA’s assessment constructively and has moved to make serious changes in its structure and operations.”

The FAA announced the downgrade on Monday after an in-country assessment in April 2019.

It said its category 2 rating meant that CAAM was deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, and/or inspection procedures.

“This process is an assessment of CAAM and not any individual airline operating inside or outside of Malaysia,” it said.

The FAA assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conduct operations there or participate in code-sharing arrangements with US partner airlines.