Malaysia Airlines’ FAA Rating Downgraded

Malaysia Airlines passengers, take a look at this.

The United States’ Federal Aviation Administration, commonly referred to as FAA, has downgraded Malaysia Airlines from a category 1 to a category 2. What does this mean to Malaysia Airlines, isn’t it just a rating? This means some pretty important stuff, actually; the carrier can no longer create new routes to the US, and existing routes will require extra aircraft inspection before every flight. This could mean delays to some flights. American Airlines codeshares with Malaysian Airlines and will now have to cease this cooperation according to FAA regulations. This FAA press release goes further in detail about the downgrade. Cited from the press release, “In 2003, Malaysia was assigned a Category 1 rating, meaning CAAM complied with ICAO standards for aviation safety oversight. The FAA conducted an in-country reassessment of Malaysia under the IASA program in April 2019, and met with the CAAM in July 2019 to discuss the results.”

What do you think made the FAA bring Malaysia Airlines to a category 2?



I think there’s something about Air Asia X needing to delay its fifth freedom flights to the United States after this.

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" The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has found that the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) does not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and therefore has received a Category 2 rating based on a reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority."

This is the reason they were downgraded. Malaysia’s aviation authority doesn’t meet ICAO’s top safety standards currently.


I’m honestly surprised and shocked at the same time. I’m still confused what really happened that led to this happening…

Does Malaysian even have routes to the US. I don’t recall any from my knowledge.

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They don’t Anymore but if they try to enter the US market again they’re ganna have a hard time

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Interesting- the last bit about the IASA ratings, it’s a downloadable spreadsheet that I’ve looked at. It’s dated 5/13/19, so Malaysia’s authority is still listed as category 1, but here are some other category 2 aviation authorities as of that date.

  • Costa Rica
  • Ghana
  • Bangladesh
  • Curacao
  • Thailand

Interesting to also see Thailand on that list as category 2. Also, in the image, codeshares between these countries’ airlines and US carriers are not allowed so long as the category 2 status still applies, which could impact US carriers even if these countries’ carriers such as Malaysian Airlines don’t directly serve the US.


Why is the FAA the one deciding if an airline meets international safety standards? This should be up to the ICAO themselves, FAA is overstepping their bounds, and with their recent record of certifying a particular aircraft which will not be named, they are in no position to credibly make this decision. Last time they made a decision with an international scale to it something else happened…


Thai Airways cut all their flights to the US, too

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The FAA has jurisdiction over the US, other countries can of course still allow Malaysian carriers to operate normally in their airspace. This category 2 classification only applies for the US, and certainly not internationally. The FAA is completely within their jurisdiction here. To clarify, this is the FAA deciding for the US if a country’s aviation authority meets ICAO standards, other countries are not obligated to follow the US in restricting Malaysia’s carriers.


Absolutely, I understand that, but it’s a bit hypocritical of the FAA to try to take the lead here without any corroborating reports from other agencies worldwide. No other country has downgraded them, these are international standards, not the FAA standards. With their recent track record on evaluating “safety”, they are in no position to be credible with this judgment. I’m interested to see why no additional 3rd party was brought in to verify these findings as well as why their findings weren’t brought to the international organization that is the ICAO.


The FAA can do what the FAA wants to do. They have every right to downgrade an airline because when that plane comes to the us and has issues in the US airspace it falls on the FAA

Again, I’m not arguing it’s not within their jurisdiction, it’s just unethical of them. If it was really based on “international standards” how about they actually escalate it to an international level? If it’s not then they shouldn’t say that something isn’t “in accordance with international standards”.

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This is recent, as in they downgraded the rating today

Back in 2015, when the FAA downgraded Thailand to category 2, they were the first aviation authority to do so. Soon after, China, Japan and South Korea also downgraded Thailand.

Given that countries have followed the US in the past, I think it’s probably for the best to wait a bit to see how other countries will react to this first, and see if they also downgrade Malaysia.


I’ve flewn quite a bit with Malaysian; even flew the MH17, many years before the incident.

I did get the same feeling as @aceorbit that with the FAA doing this ruling, the US seem to promote themselves to be the world’s aviation police, even though the ruling is for US airspace only.

And you gotta agree that the remarks are serious…
deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, and/or inspection procedures.

Wonder what the business impact will be for the airline. It’s gotta be significant.

Sad to see MH having a great downfall, they’ve always been a good airline to fly with (from my experiences) - I know this for a fact because I’m currently living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I flew with MH370 8 months before the incident.

Malaysian Airlines is going to bankrupt soon. MH is now experiencing bankruptcy restructuring. China Southern is buying their shares partly because CZ wants to join Oneworld.

Does anyone know of somewhere I can find a full list of category 2 ranked airlines?

I don’t know, but let’s take a look at this news, KLIA-ZBAA MH360 run into accident again yesterday:

I thought it was another MH370. To my surprise, they returned. After the MH370 accident, they only changed the flight code from MH370 to MH360 while changing from B777 to A333, but most people in China can still remember that horrible accident by seeing MH360. This showed up in Chinese news. I bet very very few Chinese would fly Malaysian.