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(File pix) Two aviation companies have urged the government to either review the function of the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) or disband it altogether. Pix by Hafiz Sohaimi

KUALA LUMPUR: Two aviation companies have urged the government to either review the function of the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) or disband it altogether.

Eaglexpress Air Charter Sdn Bhd, which is based in Saudi Arabia, and Suasa Airlines Sdn Bhd, said they want the new government to look into the purpose of Mavcom under the previous administration, which had treated them unfairly, causing hundreds of millions of ringgit in losses.

Eaglexpress president Captain Azlan Zainal Abidin said Mavcom had revoked his company’s Aviation Service Permit (ASP) in 2016 because it could not come up with RM300 million cash reserves as required by the commission.

“It was made a requirement by Mavcom that we needed to have that amount and when we could not comply in time, they revoked our ASP. We have been forking out millions of ringgit to settle this issue and had to retrench our Malaysian staff working in Saudi Arabia.

“We seek for the new government and the Transport Ministry to review the function of Mavcom since the new administration is focusing on transparency. We have been treated unfairly by (Mavcom) and we lost a lot of money. In this case, it is very embarrassing for us,” he told reporters.

It was reported that Mavcom had not allowed Eaglexpress, a airline catering mainly to those performing the umrah or haj, to operate beginning December 2016 following the revocation of the ASP.

Mavcom had, in a statement then, said if the airline continued to provide such services, it would be committing an offence under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015.

The commission had initially granted a 12-month ASP to Eaglexpress (from Sept 1, 2016 until Aug 31, 2017) under specific conditions to be complied with by the airline within stipulated timeframes.

However, Eaglexpress had failed to comply with the conditions within the deadline.

Azlan said the airline company had suffered RM300 million in losses.

“We are planning to start up a new aviation company and hoping to get overseas investors to assist us in this new airline,” he added.

Meanwhile, Suasa Airlines chief executive officer Captain Sheikh Salleh Abod said it had yet to receive an ASP from Mavcom, leaving the airline in limbo.

He said the company suffered RM15 million in losses and was forced to sell two of its five aircraft and retrench more than 70 employees.

“We sought approval from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) for a non-commercial demonstration flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi in 2016. The DCA had given us the approval and so did Mavcom to proceed with the demonstration flight.

“However, the commission then said it would investigate why we flew without its approval. They lodged a police report against us and we had a private meeting with the Mavcom chairman.

“Mavcom said if we apologised – for things we had never done wrong, mind you – they would grant us a licence immediately. We want the new government to investigate the purpose of Mavcom and why they had treated us unfairly,” he said.

It was reported that Suasa Airlines was fined RM380,000 by the Sepang Sessions Court in 2016 for operating without a valid ASP.

The company had to pleaded guilty to the charge of carrying passengers for hire or reward on a non-scheduled journey between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi without a valid permit under Section 36 of the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015.

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