The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded Malaysia’s air safety rating, restricting the country’s airlines from adding flights to the United States, four sources told Reuters on Monday.
Malaysia has been downgraded to Category 2, said the sources, who did not want to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media., Reuters adds.
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 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 United States. The carriers would also be subject to additional inspections at U.S. airports.
FAA will also not allow reciprocal code-sharing arrangements between U.S. carriers and Malaysian carriers when a country is rated Category 2.
The downgrade places Malaysia in the same FAA category as neighboring 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 this time, the only Malaysian airline route to the United States is AirAsia X Bhd services from Kuala Lumpur to Honolulu via Osaka.