Wee: 28 measures mooted to regain Category One ranking from US aviation authority

KUALA LUMPUR: The task force formed to regain Malaysia's Category One ranking from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has come up with 28 measures, says the Transport Ministry.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) said the task force, formed to look into the 33 issues raised by FAA, had come up with the measures for the consideration of the Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia (CAAM).

Among the measures include finalising new legal documents such as on enforcement policies; helping CAAM transform its administration and management in terms of organisation structure, human resources, finance, digitalisation and automation; identifying and training CAAM inspectors with international bodies to ensure the qualifications of the CAAM inspectors are in line with the FAA's audit requirement; and ensuring qualified CAAM inspectors are given monitoring and approval duties that are carried out in an orderly fashion.

"The government is also in the process of getting advice and technical support from the FAA through a memorandum of agreement between them and CAAM.

"The guide and technical support from FAA will help CAAM implement correction measures to the 33 issues raised in the audit so that it will be targeted and in line with the needs of FAA," he said in reply with Anthony Loke (PH-Seremban), who asked the extent of CAAM's preparation to bring Malaysia back to Category One.

Dr Wee said after the measures are implemented by CAAM, the task force will then arrange an assessment meeting with FAA to go through the 33 issues raised by it.

"The ministry is targeting that all correction measures be implemented completely by the end of 2021 to enable the CAAM to be reinstated into Category One," he said.

Last November, the FAA downgraded Malaysia from Category One to Category Two, which disabled Malaysian air carriers from starting new services or routes to the United States.

The downgrade also meant there would be no code sharing arrangements between US and Malaysian airline companies.

Dr Wee said the task force had found that in order to upgrade to Category One, the CAAM needed to embark on proactive enhancement measures, especially in critical areas such as qualification and training of technical personnels, licensing, certification and approval responsibilities, as well as monitoring.

Meanwhile, in reply to a supplementary question, he said the ministry was in discussions with CAAM to make it a fully autonomous statutory body.

"We have a new chairman and chief executive officer who were appointed in June, and they have been working hard to look into the findings of the task force.

"One of the issues is in terms of CAAM's structure and financial sustainability," he said.

Dr Wee added that one of the goals is to make CAAM more sustainable.

He also said with the appointment of the new chairman and CEO, some immediate measures had been implemented, including increasing the number of airplane inspectors from 30 to 48.

In terms of flight operations, CAAM has also increased flight inspectors from nine to 21.

"We need to be very cautious so we can get back our Category One rating, as it is very important (for the aviation industry)," he added.

Meanwhile, to another supplementary question on the merger exercise involving the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) and CAAM, he said the process would take some time due to Covid-19.
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