The FAA has downgraded Malaysia’s air safety rating. This is a judgment about the government’s regulatory operation, and not about any Malaysian airline.
However the ‘category 2’ rating given means that Malaysia-based airlines cannot start new U.S. service or add to existing service. It also means that US airlines cannot codeshare with them.
- The only Malaysian airline currently flying to the US is AirAsia X which operates Kuala Lumpur – Honolulu via Osaka Kansai.
- However American Airlines has codeshared with oneworld carrier Malaysia Airlines since 2013.
As a result of this regulatory ruling by the FAA, American Airlines has had to terminate codeshares with Malaysia Airlines. That move was made effective yesterday.
This means that American Airlines customers booked on American Airlines flights operated by Malaysia Airlines need to be rebooked – since there are no more American Airlines flights operated by Malaysia Airlines. American should be reaching out to customers, at least where they have contact information on file.
An American spokesperson tells me,
Customers will be offered the same itineraries (Malaysia Airlines prime). If the customer wishes to fly on another carrier, we will work to accommodate the customer on other airlines including our partners such as Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
In other words, anyone who wishes may keep their exact same itinerary switching to the Malaysia Airlines flight number for the Malaysia flight they were already on (this will change their AAdvantage mileage-earning).
However customers have the option not to fly Malaysia Airlines if they prefer, at least as long as American can move them to another carrier for their destination. That seems more than reasonable – generous even – a good job of taking care of customers.
I have no concerns flying Malaysia Airlines personally – at least not relative to flying other carriers like Thai Airways (Thailand is also an FAA category 2 country), Vietnam Airlines (Vietnam has been upgraded to category 1), or Asiana. The downgrade after all was with respect to the Malaysian Civil Aviation Authority and not any specific airline.