Industry players welcome US Cat 1 aviation safety rating reinstatement

AVIATION industry players today applauded the reinstatement of Malaysia’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating to Category 1 (Cat 1) by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In a statement, airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said the Cat 1 rating would strengthen Malaysia’s position as an aviation hub and increase the country’s network connectivity.

MAHB managing director Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said the Transport Ministry (MOT) and Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) had put in “massive efforts” to ensure that Malaysia’s IASA Cat 1 rating was reinstated. 

He added that the higher rating would aid MAHB’s marketing efforts in attracting more airlines to operate in Malaysia, thus increasing the country’s network connectivity and hub potential.

Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood

“It is truly commendable considering that this was done while the national aviation industry is still dealing with the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

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

In a separate statement, AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd group chief executive officer Bo Lingam said the reinstatement is 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 like Japan and 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 explained.

Bo Lingam

He added that regaining the category also bodes well for the group’s burgeoning maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) subsidiary (Asia Digital Engineering) 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. 

“A massive congratulations to the CAAM for meeting the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety standards again and to MOT” for their continued effort to improve the FAA’s rating on Malaysia’s aviation status,” he said.

Similarly, the Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) congratulated the CAAM on the matter and said they were pleased to be able to support CAAM by being 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.

“MAG is confident that CAAM, under the leadership of Captain Chester Voon and the rest of the management team, will be able to make significant contributions to the development of civil aviation’s safety and security in Malaysia,” it added. – Oct 1, 2022


Main photo credit: Reuters

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