Malaysia regains US FAA's Category 1 safety rating

In November 2019, the FAA had downgraded Malaysia to Category 2 after an audit of the CAAM in April showed non-compliance with ICAO safety standards, and that it was deficient in one or more areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, and/or inspection procedures. (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

In November 2019, the FAA had downgraded Malaysia to Category 2 after an audit of the CAAM in April showed non-compliance with ICAO safety standards, and that it was deficient in one or more areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, and/or inspection procedures. (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 1): After three years, Malaysia’s aviation safety regulator has regained its Category 1 rating from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), allowing Malaysian carriers to launch and add flights to the US.

The FAA had lowered its rating of Malaysia’s oversight capability to Category 2 in 2019 after the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) failed to meet the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) safety standards.

The downgrade to Category 2 was a first for Malaysia’s aviation safety regulator since it was assigned a Category 1 rating in 2003 — placing it alongside countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, Mexico, Curaçao, Costa Rica and Ghana.

"I am grateful for the leadership of the Transport Ministry, as well as authority members and the team at the CAAM. It has been a tough journey, but it has been worthwhile as we focused on effective safety oversight of our aviation industry," CAAM chief executive officer Datuk Captain Chester Voo Chee Soon told The Edge via text from Montreal, Canada, on Saturday (Oct 1). Voo is in Montreal attending the 41st ICAO Assembly, which ends next Friday (Oct 7).

Voo took over the CEO post at the CAAM in June 2020, shortly after the downgrade.

In November 2019, the FAA had downgraded Malaysia to Category 2 after an audit of the CAAM in April showed non-compliance with ICAO safety standards, and that it was deficient in one or more areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, and/or inspection procedures.

The downgrade had served as a wake-up call for the Malaysian government as the CAAM is an agency under the purview of the Ministry of Transport. For the first time, the CAAM had admitted there were shortcomings in its structure and operations. 

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