Mavcom revokes Eaglexpress’ permit

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) is revoking Eaglexpress Air Charter Sdn Bhd's – the airline which left hundreds of Umrah pilgrims recently – right to fly effective today, without giving specific reasons.

Eaglexpress is the holder of an Air Service Permit (ASP), which allows for charter flights.

In a statement, Mavcom said with the revocation, Eaglexpress shall not undertake to carry by air or use any aircraft for the carriage of passengers, mail or cargo for hire or reward on a non-scheduled journey over domestic or international routes.

"If the airline continues to provide such services, it will have committed an offence under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 (Act 771)," it noted.

According to Eaglexpress website, it operates in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and it does not sell tickets directly to travelling pilgrims as it is not a scheduled airline. It leases aircraft to other carriers that require more capacity.

Eaglexpress' flight operations are based in Jeddah, providing aircraft on a wet lease basis to Saudia Airlines & FlyNas.

Mavcom said Eaglexpress, which was granted an ASP for a period of 12 months from Sept 1, 2016 to Aug 31, 2017, had failed to comply with the specific conditions imposed.

On Dec 1, 2016, Mavcom issued a show cause letter to Eaglexpress seeking written representations but decided to revoke the ASP as the airline had failed to provide sufficient evidence for the commission to believe that it will be able to resolve all concerns raised and to comply with the conditions imposed.

Mavcom stressed that its mission is to promote a commercially viable, consumer-oriented and resilient civil aviation industry that supports Malaysia's growth.

"This latest episode with Eaglexpress, and earlier with Rayani Air should be a clear indication to potential and current industry players that operating an airline (chartered or scheduled) is extremely challenging and requires a high degree of planning, financial depth, operational know-how and execution competency to stand any chance of succeeding.

"We wish to reiterate that a robust commercial foundation and depth are therefore necessary prerequisites to be a player in this industry – regardless of whether it is an ASP or Air Service Licence (ASL) holder. The Commission will strive to ensure only enterprises that are equipped and ready will be allowed to participate," said Mavcom executive chairman Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad.