AirAsia seems unfazed by the recent decision of US FAA to downgrade the Malaysian civil aviation authority to Category 2 as reported by local newspapers. The low cost carrier subsidiary AirAsia X is the only one to offer for the time being a direct route between Malaysia and Hawaii via Japan.
Budget airline AirAsia Bhd Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes recently told to Malaysian media that it was not fazed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia’s (CAAM) downgrade to Category 2 by the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). He pointed out that other countries have also previously been downgraded to Category 2 such as Thailand and Indonesia, with Indonesia now coming back even stronger. Fernandes remains confident that this will also be the case for Malaysia Civil Aviation. ” This is a golden opportunity for Malaysia to “reset” the CAAM,” he was stated by local newspapers.
“When I started 18 years ago, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) back then was one of the most respected in the world. I came from the rock-and-roll business and when I met with the DCA I was so impressed. I credit the DCA for AirAsia’s success,” added Tony Fernandes.
AirAsiaX currently flies from Kuala Lumpur to Honolulu via Osaka Kansai, being the only carrier to serve the United States. It can still continue to serve the route but is not anymore in a position to add more frequencies or change aircraft or open any new route to the USA. This perspective did not seem to disturb Tony Fernandes which indicated that the AirAsia Group could still expand into the USA thanks to its Japanese affiliate.
“Uncle Tony has many ways of getting to the US,” Fernandes said, referring to himself. “We have an airline called AirAsia Japan. So don’t worry. There is plenty of options.”
Last week, during a press conference, the Malaysian CAAM said that it was confident of meeting FAA’s requirements in 12 months after it was downgraded to Category 2 recently. The CAAM explained that they are 33 outstanding issues out of 300 questions that the FAA had surveyed in April this year touching on regulatory and legislative matters. to requalify the CAAM in Category 1, the FAA will have to reassess the entire procedures of Malaysian civil aviation authorities.