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US aviation body upgrades Malaysia's air safety rating

This comes nearly three years after the FAA took action to restrict Malaysia's airlines from adding new flights to the US.

Reuters
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Travellers mill about at the entrance of KLIA in Sepang.
Travellers mill about at the entrance of KLIA in Sepang.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed on Monday it upgraded Malaysia's air safety rating nearly three years after it took action to restrict the country's airlines from adding new flights to the US.

In November 2019, the FAA lowered Malaysia from Category 1 to Category 2, meaning Malaysian airlines were restricted to current levels of any existing US service and subject to additional inspections at US airports.

The Category 1 rating means Malaysia meets international air safety standards. The FAA said 90% of countries rated achieved Category 1.

The Associated Press previously quoted Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong as saying the upgrade would bolster tourism in the country.

"With the return to Category 1, our airlines can now mount new flights to the US and have code sharing with American carriers," the AP quoted Wee as saying. "This is good news after the Covid-19 pandemic."

Last week, the FAA said it would work with countries when it sees early indications that civil aviation authorities are not meeting safety standards.

The FAA previously would offer assistance only after the country had been downgraded. Now the agency will be able to work with a country to address developing safety risks before downgrading it.

The FAA said if it notifies a country of a safety concern it will limit direct service and code sharing by foreign operators to current levels as it reviews whether to issue a downgrade.

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