Transport Ministry optimistic about regaining Class 1 air safety rating

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 12 Aug 2021

Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong. -The Star filepic

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is optimistic of a good outcome and is ready for a reassessment by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over air safety.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said this was one of the main points of conversation with Ambassador Brian D McFeeters during a virtual courtesy call on Thursday (Aug 12).

"Ambassador McFeeters and I touched base on many points that the Transport Ministry continues to make progress with the United States.

"One of the main points of conversation was Malaysia's excellent progress on our readiness to be reassessed under the International Aviation Safety Assessment by the US FAA.

"We can be optimistic of a good outcome soon, which would put us back on track to regain Category One status after this was stripped in April 2019 due to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards not being met at the time," he said in a Facebook post on Thursday (Aug 12).

"We are indeed appreciative of the Ambassador's recognition of Malaysia's good progress in adhering to the FAA's rigorous standards," he added.

In November 2019, the FAA downgraded Malaysia's air safety rating, restricting the country's airlines from adding flights to the United States.

The FAA's safety rating is based on a country's aviation oversight regime and is an assessment of the country's civil aviation authority.

As a Category Two regulator, air carriers from Malaysia cannot start new services and are restricted to current levels of existing services to the United States.

The carriers would also be subject to additional inspections at US airports.

In August last year, Dr Wee had announced that a Transport Ministry task force had listed 28 measures to regain the Category One rating.

Dr Wee said other matters brought up during the meeting were the possibility of the two countries helping each other in the development of infrastructure for Malaysia's aviation and rail sectors.

"The United States has much to offer in terms of expertise and experience in aviation and ground transport infrastructure development and services support," he said.

He said the two countries had many mutual interests, on which they would need to continue working together to achieve shared goals.

Dr Wee said last year, the United States was not only Malaysia's third-largest trading partner but was also Malaysia's third-largest export destination and third-largest source of imports.

"Meanwhile, we are their third-largest trading partner among Asean countries after Singapore and Vietnam.

"In 2020 despite the pandemic, total trade between Malaysia and the US grew by 7.8% to RM178.2bil (US$42.5bil) compared with RM165.22bil (US$39.87bil) in 2019," said Dr Wee.

He said the ministry would continue to support this momentum by ensuring that the logistics and transportation sector encourage unhindered goods movement and robust contribution to economic growth.

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