Mavcom rebuts two defunct airlines demanding its shutdown

Mavcom said today its responsibility was to protect consumers, after two airlines that broke aviation regulations called for the commission’s closure. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Mavcom said today its responsibility was to protect consumers, after two airlines that broke aviation regulations called for the commission’s closure. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) said today its responsibility was to protect consumers, after two airlines that broke aviation regulations called for the commission’s closure.

Mavcom, which regulates civil aviation, pointed out that Suasa Airlines was fined RM380,000 in January 2017 after pleading guilty to operating without a valid air service permit (ASP), while Eaglexpress failed in August 2017 to get a judicial review of Mavcom’s decision to revoke its ASP after it failed to meet certain requirements.

“This case of Eaglexpress, as well as the earlier case with Suasa Airlines, are clear indications to potential and current industry players that operating an airline (chartered or scheduled) is extremely challenging and requires a high degree of planning, financial depth, operational know-how and execution competency,” Mavcom said in a statement.

“A robust commercial foundation and depth are therefore necessary prerequisites to be a player in this industry — regardless of whether it is an ASP or ASL (air service licence) holder.

“The Commission’s responsibility is to ensure enterprises participating in the industry are properly equipped and ready, in order to safeguard consumers’ safety and interest,” it added.

Suasa Airlines and Eaglexpress, two privately-owned charter airlines, reportedly called earlier today for the government to shut down Mavcom, claiming the commission had failed to facilitate the growth of the local aviation industry.

Eaglexpress president Azlan Zainal Abidin and Suasa Airlines chief executive officer Sheikh Salleh Abod reportedly said that the regulation of the airline industry should be placed under the Department of Civil Aviation instead.

The latter claimed that Mavcom’s operating cost has ballooned to nearly 40 times from the original RM60,000 a year since it began operations in 2016.

In Suasa Airlines’ case, the airline had pleaded guilty to carrying passengers on a non-scheduled flight between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi on July 22, 2016, without a valid ASP.

Mavcom revoked Eaglexpress’ ASP on December 20, 2016, because the airline failed to convert its current negative shareholders’ equity to a positive position by November 30, 2016, to increase its cash level to RM30 million by that date, and to resolve long-standing pending salary and employee benefits payment by October 30 2016.

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