US downgrades Malaysia aviation safety rating

The FAA has downgraded Malaysia’s civil aviation authority
to a Category 2 rating for failing to meet safety standards set by the United Nations’
International Civil Aviation Organization.

As a result, Malaysian airlines
won’t be allowed to launch new U.S. routes. 

The move doesn’t figure to have substantial effect on travel
between the U.S. and Malaysia. AirAsia X’s Kuala
Lumpur-Osaka-Honolulu service is the only U.S. route operated by a Malaysian
carrier. That route can be continued despite the downgrade.

AirAsia X has
expressed an interest in flying to the U.S. West Coast, but those
ambitions will now have to be put on hold. Oneworld alliance member Malaysia Airlines
doesn’t fly to the U.S. 

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia had enjoyed a
Category 1 rating from the FAA since 2003. The downgrade follows an in-country
reassessment conducted by the FAA in April. The FAA didn’t state the specific
reason for the downgrade.

Generally, a Category 2 rating means that that the country lacks laws or regulations
necessary to oversee airlines or its civil aviation authority is deficient
in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping
or inspection procedures.

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