The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has just downgraded Malaysia’s aviation safety rating, from a Category 1 to a Category 2. Malaysia’s aviation safety downgrade makes Asia the region with the most markets where airlines are restricted from U.S airspace, joining Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Curacao, Ghana and Thailand.
The #FAA has found that the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) does not meet @ICAO safety standards and therefore has received a Category 2 rating based on a reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority. Read the press release at https://t.co/xfaO8If4TU.
— The FAA (@FAANews) November 11, 2019
The FAA’s decision banning the country’s carriers from setting up new flights to anywhere between New York and San Franciso is cited with the deficiencies by the nation’s civil aviation authority in areas ranging from technical expertise to record keeping. Category 2 rating means, air carriers from that country cannot initiate new service to the United States. There are restrictions to current levels of existing service to the US while corrective actions are underway and there will be additional inspections if the airline flies to the US.
Malaysia civil aviation authority CAAM hopes that FAA will reinstate its category 1 status within 12 months . Meantime, due to it being listed as a Category 2 Regulator, airlines licensed by CAAM will not be able to add new routes to and from the US pic.twitter.com/tMu5uYuKi1
— Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) November 11, 2019
This denotation does not necessarily suggest that Malaysia’s airlines are unsafe, rather it infers that there is an oversight on the part of the airline by the government. The FAA assessment is based on International Civil Aviation Organisation safety standards and focuses on the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, not on individual airlines.
FAA’s decision for the airline just means that now they cannot open new routes to the US or code-share with any American carriers. It also means Malaysia’s aircraft will be subjected to more close monitoring at US airports. “Its codeshare agreements to fly routes to the United States will stay at existing levels, subject to their partner airline’s own assessments. Passengers flying to the United States through its (Malaysia Airlines) partners in the Oneworld airlines alliance”- commented the Carrier.
This isn’t good news for airline partners either — until now, not a single member of the Oneworld Alliance is from a country placed under Category 2 restrictions.
— Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) November 11, 2019
This change in safety status, however, could now disrupt other carriers such as AirAsia. AirAsia X’s plan to add service to the US mainland as soon as 2021. The carrier has been planning new service to California’s Bay Area — either Oakland (OAK), San Francisco (SFO) or San Jose (SJC) airports — from Japan with its new Airbus A330neo jets by the year 2021, thus putting these routes in jeopardy.