Aviation sector sets course for post-pandemic recovery

Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong. - Filepic/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Despite taking a massive hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, the nation’s business and general aviation sectors are on the path to recovery following the rollout of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

“We understand that Covid-19 has battered all forms of aviation.

“Business aircraft arrivals and departures at Subang airport in January and February this year were just under 300, compared with an average of 1,500 in 2020, and over 1,700 in 2019, ” he said when launching the inaugural AsBAA Malaysia Virtual Safety Forum yesterday.

In view of this, he said the stakeholders in the aviation sector must begin working with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to review safety and business aspects to allow the industry to “get right back into the game” as the economy recovers.

Dr Wee, who is Transport Minister, noted that some 500,000 people were expected to be vaccinated under the first phase of the immunisation programme, with a total of 9.4 million inoculated by year’s end.

In total, he said that some 13.7 million people in the country would have received Covid-19 vaccines by early 2022.

Dr Wee also lauded the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) for recently registering its Malaysian chapter with the Registrar of Societies last December as the Business Aviation Association.

“This bodes well for Malaysian general and business aviation as it allows members of this community in Malaysia more access to AsBAA’s significant resources via their membership in the Malaysian chapter, ” he added.

He added that CAAM would keep AsBAA updated on the latest standards and safety issues affecting the aviation sector here, and cited recent helicopter accidents at Subang airport last month and at Taman Melawati (last November) as examples for the need for all-round safety awareness.

“In light of these incidents, it was imperative that CAAM quickly organise a mandatory safety briefing for all local helicopter operators, maintenance organisations, and helicopter pilots in Malaysia, ” he said, adding that this safety awareness exercise aimed to cover safety management training, hazard identification and risk assessment.

“We want to see more aviation operators conduct regular safety seminars and briefings to make safety awareness and compliance an ingrained culture.

“Safety must not be optional when using and enjoying private aviation, ” he said.

AsBAA, a non-profit member of the International Business Aviation Council affiliated with the National Business Aviation Association USA, is hosting the inaugural two-day virtual event which ends today.

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