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The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded Malaysia’s air safety rating, restricting the country’s airlines from adding flights to the US, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency on Monday.
Malaysia has been downgraded to Category 2, said the sources, who did not want to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
The FAA’s safety rating is based on a country’s aviation oversight regime and is an assessment of the country’s civil aviation authority.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia and the FAA were not immediately available for comment.
The new rating means the air carriers from the country cannot start new services and are restricted to current levels of any existing service to the US.
The carriers would also be subject to additional inspections at the US airports.
FAA will also not allow reciprocal code-sharing arrangements between US carriers and Malaysian carriers when a country is rated Category 2.
The downgrade places Malaysia in the same FAA category as neighbour Thailand, which was downgraded to Category 2 in December 2015 and has since tried unsuccessfully to restore the top Category 1 rating.
Other countries in Category 2 include Bangladesh, Ghana and Costa Rica.
At present, the only Malaysian airline route to the US is AirAsia X Bhd services from Kuala Lumpur to Honolulu via Osaka.