PONTIAN, Nov 14 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government wanted to know the reason for the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) move to downgrade the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia’s (CAAM) safety rating.
“If they say we are not good or so on, then our Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is among the 20 biggest airports in the world.
“We have even been given the trust to run the Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (ISGIA) in Turkey where it is not small as 31 million people use it,” said Dr Mahathir.
He said this after having breakfast with some 200 non-governmental organisations (NGO) members at Warung 800 in Pekan Nanas here today.
Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman, was accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and other Bersatu leaders including the party’s president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal.
Dr Mahathir added that Malaysian pilots were accepted by airline companies from Indonesia, China and Middle Eastern countries.
“Our people when they work overseas are not working as a servant at home. They are professionals such as pilots, engineers, architects and many others,” said Dr Mahathir.
On November 11, it was reported that CAAM had requested the United States’ FAA to reassess its classification of the Malaysian body into category two aviation regulator within the next 12 months.
This follows a downgrade that placed Malaysia in the same FAA category as Thailand, which was downgraded to category two in December 2015 and has since tried unsuccessfully to restore the top category one rating.
Other countries in category two include Bangladesh, Ghana and Costa Rica.
As a category two regulator, airlines licensed by CAAM will not be able to add new routes to and from the United States.