By: AirTravellerPH Staff
AirAsia Group long-haul subsidiary AirAsia X's plan to expand their services to the United States west coast will have to wait as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded Malaysia's safety rating to category 2. This means that Malaysia-based airlines are prohibited from operating new services to the United States and will impose additonal inspections on Malaysian carriers in U.S. airports.
A country on category 2 also disallows airlines from that country to change aircraft. For the case of AirAsia X, they will not be allowed to use their Airbus A330-900NEO to Hawaii while under cat 2.
In a press statement, the FAA said that "the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) does not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and therefore has received a Category 2 rating based on a reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority."
A category 2 rating means that the CAAM is deficient in one or more areas in safety matters such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, and inspection procedures.
Malaysia was assigned a category 1 rating in 2003 which means that the CAAM is in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for aviation safety oversight. In April 2019, the FAA conducted another reassessment on Malaysia under the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. They then met with the CAAM to discuss the results in July 2019.
This FAA assessment only covers the country's aviation safety oversight committees, for the case of Malaysia, CAAM. This is not an assessment of the airlines flying in and and of Malaysia. Under a category 2 rating, Malaysian carriers can still operate their existing services to the U.S. They are just bared from adding new services.
The statement also said, "as part of the IASA program, the FAA assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conduct operations to the United States, or participate in code-sharing arrangements with U.S. partner airlines, and makes that information available to the public. The assessments determine whether foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations."
AirAsia X is the only Malaysian airline that operates services to the United States via Honolulu, Hawaii.