CAAM says confident of meeting US aviation authority’s requirements in a year’s time

Civil aviation authority of Malaysia (CAAM) board of director member Afzal Abdul Rahim speaks during the CAAM press conference in Putrajaya, November 12, 2019. —Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Civil aviation authority of Malaysia (CAAM) board of director member Afzal Abdul Rahim speaks during the CAAM press conference in Putrajaya, November 12, 2019. —Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 12 — The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) is confident of meeting the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) requirements in 12 months after it was downgraded to Category 2 recently.

Afzal Abdul Rahim, a member of the CAAM told a press conference today that there are 33 outstanding issues out of 300 questions that the FAA had surveyed in April this year touching on regulatory and legislative matters among others.

However, in order to regain its Category 1 status, the FAA must still be convinced to conduct a reassessment exercise on the regulatory body.

“There are two things. At the end of the day FAA pointed out shortcomings on our part. There are some that are ambiguous. To retain Category 1 status is to close the 33 findings (by FAA).

“If we close these findings that issue is closed. There are 33 by FAA accounts and 22 by our accounts. The gap (11 findings) in between is what we find to be ambiguous. The FAA allows us to be reassessed in 12 to 24 months.

“In the view of the board, yes we are confident of obtaining it in 12 months. But we must first convince FAA to come visit us in12 months,” said Afzal.

FAA’s assessment had covered eight elements constituting aviation safety oversight system in April 2019.

It had touched on the following areas: primary aviation legislations; specific operating regulations; technical personnel qualification and training; technical guidance, tools and the provision of safety-critical information; licensing, certification, authorisations and approval obligations; surveillance obligations; and resolution of safety concerns.

“At the time of the audit in April 2019, FAA listed its findings and CAAM then took immediate and considerable steps to rectify the findings, observed by the FAA. By July 2019, the majority of the findings were closed.

“However, in our view, a substantial number of findings were either ambiguous or undetermined. Work started immediately on the remaining findings which typically have a lead time of several months to complete.

“CAAM will continue to work together with FAA to address the concerns,” said CAAM chairman Captain Ahmad Ridzwan Mohd Salleh.

Afzal added that FAA had agreed to assist CAAM in meeting their demands and requirements.

Touching on the possibility that other countries aviation regulatory bodies will also be conducting an audit on CAAM, Afzal said they are ready for any auditing at a moment’s notice, although he admits that FAA’s downgrade has placed them in the spotlight.

“We are always prepared on being audited. There was an ICAO audit in April. Every year ICAO lists down which country to audit. These audits happen as a natural matter of course.

“If we do have problems, we won’t be elected as an ICAO council representative for Asia Pacific for the fourth time in a row,” said Afzal.

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