PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is optimistic about a good outcome over its excellent progress in its readiness to be reassessed by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 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.
“Ambassador McFeeters and I touched base on many points that the Transport Ministry continues to make progress with the US.
“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 post on Facebook.
“We are indeed appreciative of the Ambassador’s recognition of Malaysia’s good progress in adhering to the FAA’s rigorous standards,” he added.
The ministry, said Dr Wee, would be issuing a fuller press release at the right time.
In November 2019, the FAA had downgraded Malaysia’s air safety rating, restricting the country’s airlines from adding flights to the US.
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 any existing service to the US.
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 from the FAA.
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 US has much to offer in terms of expertise and experience in aviation and ground transport infrastructure development and services support,” he said.
With the US being Malaysia’s third-largest trading partner, 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 US was not only Malaysia’s third-largest trading partner, but it 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 compared with RM165.22bil 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.