M’sia’s aviation authority downgraded to Category 2 by FAA; CEO resigns

by MARK RAO/FILE PIX

 The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) will be listed as a Category 2 aviation regulator following a review by the US aviation authority, preventing CAAM-licensed airlines from adding new routes to and from the US.

CAAM chairman Captain Ahmad Ridzwan Mohd Salleh said the assessment carried out by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) only covered CAAM’s role as an aviation regulator.

 The categorisation is not an assessment of the airlines, airports or air traffic services that fall under the purview of CAAM, he said.

“However, due to being listed as a Category 2 Regulator, airlines licensed by CAAM will not be able to add new routes to and from the US,” he said in a statement last night.

AirAsia X Bhd is understood to be the only Malaysian airline that flies to the US directly, namely to Honolulu, Hawaii via Osaka, Japan.

Ahmad Ridzwan said that CAAM takes FAA’s assessment constructively and has moved to make serious changes to its structure and operations.

This includes its CEO tendering his resignation on Nov 1 this year and an executive committee of the board is established to oversee CAAM’s operations in the interim.

Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar was appointed as CAAM CEO when the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia was transformed to CAAM on Feb 19, 2018.

The Transport Ministry has been informed of these internal developments, Ahmad Ridzwan said in the statement.

He said CAAM has requested the FAA to conduct a re-assessment of its downgrade within the next 12 months in view of having its Category 1 status restored.

Plans are already underway to address the findings of the audit, he added.

CAAM continues to contribute to the development and oversight of aviation via its seat on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) council,” he said in the statement.

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

CAAM’s downgrade to Category 2 status puts the aviation authority in the same category as Thailand, Bangladesh, Ghana, and Costa Rica, according to reports.