Thursday, 3 March 2016

Malaysian Aviation body takes flight

Source: Qantas

PETALING JAYA: A new agency that will manage the economic side of Malaysia’s aviation industry has taken off.

The Malaysian Aviation Commis­sion (MAC) will have its eye on commercial flights here and, among others, manage airline licences, traffic rights and routes.

Speaking to The Star, its executive chairman Jen (Rtd) Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad expressed surprise over his appointment.

“It’s a real surprise to me that the Government still considered me to lead this very important course in the aviation industry,” he said.

Formerly in the Royal Malaysian Air Force , Abdullah said he retired from service about 10 years ago.

He said he was grateful to the Prime Minister for picking him to serve in the role, adding that he only found out about it a week ago.

He declined to say what the commission’s first order of the day would be because it was still new.

The commission was formed through a Bill that was passed in Parliament last year.

An 11th Malaysia Plan document said the agency was incorporated in July 2015.

It was also reported that the commission would be taking over some areas that the Civil Aviation Department (DCA) had been handling previously.

The DCA will still manage safety and security with oversight of airlines and airports in the country.

In a statement, Transport Mi­­nister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai introduced the commission, adding that it started work yesterday.

It comprised six other members – former Cabinet minister Tan Sri Chor Chee Heung, former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, ex-Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Long See Wool, former Khazanah executive director Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi, Bagan Umno chief Datuk Dr Shaik Hussein Mydin and former Finance Ministry official Datuk Fauziah Yaacob.

The commission will be overseen by the Transport Ministry.

Mah told The Star that a few commission members had been informally briefed on their roles, adding that the group had yet to meet.

It was learned that the commission would have an office in Kuala Lumpur.

Maybank Investment Bank se­nior analyst Mohshin Aziz said there was a need for an effective commission to deal with airline issues and crises.

He said a similar agency in South Korea had come up with discounted landing fees and other costs after an outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) there affected its industry.

“They did it fast. You need an agency that is on its feet, not just sitting down wondering what’s going on,” he said, adding that there were no concerted efforts to woo back consumers following the airline incidents of 2014.

An aviation analyst who declined to be named suggested that the commission could look into operational standards and improve them.

“What needs to be boosted is aspects of maintenance, repair and overhaul,” he said.

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