KUALA LUMPUR,. Civil aviation operators Eaglexpress Air Charter Sdn Bhd and Suasa Airlines Sdn Bhd want Putrajaya to review the role of the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).
Eaglexpress president Azlan Zainal Abidin said the airline’s Air Service Permit (ASP) was unfairly revoked after the airline was unable to come up with RM30 million in their financial accounts, after being requested by Mavcom to do so in December 2016.
“Their rationale was that the amount was necessary in the event of stranded passengers’ compensation as followed in the scheduled airline guidelines.
“We then appealed for a six-month extension to obtain that sum but it fell on deaf ears,” he said during a press conference here at Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort today.
Azlan said it cost the company about RM300 million in terms of retrenched Malaysian employees and assets relocation of four stranded Boeing 747 aircrafts back to Malaysia after Saudi Airlines terminated their contract abruptly.
“What Mavcom did to us was embarrassing because it shows what the Malaysian aviation regulation departments were doing to local companies,” he added, claiming that Mavcom has practically “killed” the airline industry.
Suasa CEO Sheikh Salleh Abod said the airline was subjected to unfair treatment by Mavcom after they were left in the dark over their licence suspension that dragged on for one-and-a-half years.
“I think with the new government and the Ministry of Transport advocating transparency, they should look into the functions of Mavcom on whether it is still viable because they are supposed to encourage the growth of the industry and not suppress it.
“Mavcom is not efficient in governing the country’s airline industry and it is bringing more harm than good. We urge the new PH government to study the feasibility of Mavcom, which brings nothing but sadness to the aviation industry,” both companies said.
In January 2017, Suasa Airlines pleaded guilty to operating without a valid air service permit and was fined RM380,000.
Azlan and Sheikh Salleh also said that the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) should be in charge of approving commercial airline licences, if Mavcom cannot revamp itself.
“This was practised before Mavcom’s establishment and CAAM back then was very efficient in performing their tasks,” Azlan said.
“In the past, when CAAM was managing the country’s airline scene, it was less than 10 people. It was efficient and certainly did not incur a high cost, which I think was like around RM50,000 per year,” Sheikh Salleh said.
After its inception in 2016 to regulate economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation in Malaysia, ASP and Air Service License application administration were placed under Mavcom.