I REFER to the story “US aviation authority downgrades Malaysia’s aviation safety rating, say sources” in The Star Online on Nov 11 (bit.ly/star_fly).
The downgrade comes as not only a surprise but also tarnishes the image of the local civil aviation industry and that of the nation.
The fact that the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has been cited for its shortcomings is a wake-up call for the local regulatory body.
CAAM must note that there is no provision for any oversight or shortcomings to exist in its day-to-day operations as they concern safety.
Safety takes top priority. CAAM must take heed of the downgrade and work towards being elevated to Category 1 again.
The American watchdog, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), would have informed the CAAM of their findings and where the shortcomings are, and the necessary corrective actions to be taken.
As one who works closely with the aviation industry in the Asia Pacific, I would like to say that it will not be easy for Malaysia’s safety rating to be elevated to Category 1, as a thorough audit will be carried out by the FAA again of the nation’s aviation operations before a decision is made
It will be a bonus if the safety rating is elevated in 2020. I don’t think it’s wrong to say that it may take two years or even more to do this, depending on what corrective actions are taken.
The downgrade puts a spanner in local carriers’ plans to expand their networks to the United States. Currently only Air Asia X operates routes to Hawaii via Osaka.
Two air disasters within a span of three months in 2014 and now this downgrade is too much for any nation to accept. But this is the situation currently we face.
It is a turbulent route ahead towards regaining elevation to Category 1.
While CAAM has been cited for its shortcomings, the six local airlines – Air Asia X, Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines, FireFly, Malindo Air and MASWings – should take pride in the fact that none of their operations were implicated.
Subang Jaya, Selangor