PETALING JAYA: The tourism sector can expect a boost following Malaysia’s aviation regulator being reinstated to Category 1, say tour operators.
The reinstatement would allow our local airlines to tap into the US market and for Malaysian carriers to secure direct flights there, said Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang.
This would spur tourism and related economic activities, he added.
“All other major airlines that have connectivity into Asia, including South-East Asia, can collaborate with Malaysian carriers.
“That includes but is not li- mited to Singapore Airlines, Philippines Airlines, China Airlines and Middle Eastern carriers such as Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines.
“The dual-destinations approach with airlines is the best way to tap into first-time American visitors to Malaysia,” he said.
Yesterday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong announced that the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) had been reinstated as a Category 1 safety and technical regulator by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
It was in Category 2 for almost three years, which meant that airlines licensed by CAAM were not able to add new routes to the United States or enter into new code-sharing agreements that involve flying there.
FAA’s assessment covers CAAM’s role as an aviation regulator. It is not an assessment of Malaysian airlines or airports.
Tan congratulated Dr Wee for successfully leading his ministry and regaining the reputable status, while calling for all parties involved to maintain it.
“The relevant agencies res- ponsible for it must ensure that the status is kept and not to lose it (be downgraded) again as the image of the country is at stake,” he said.
Malaysian Tourism Council president Uzaidi Udanis said the recognition was necessary as the country needed to attract more international tourists, especially those from the United States and Europe.
“We need to maintain the momentum by doing more pro- motional activities to convince them (tourists) to enter Malaysia and spend here, especially following the reinstatement of the ranking.
“While we protect the interests of our local airlines, there is also a need to liberalise to attract American and European airlines to choose us over other countries such as Singapore and Thailand.
“This could be done by re- ducing the landing fees at our airports as well as other charges,” said Uzaidi, who is also the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association president.