BANTING, April 28 – The government will enact the National Aviation Policy to accelerate the aviation industry’s growth, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said. He said the policy would recommend measures to be taken to enhance the aviation ecosystem and the industry’s service network, among them upgrading the existing air traffic management system. “The policy will also propose upgrading of several airports in the country,” he said when speaking at the handing over of a Boeing 737-400 aircraft owned by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to the Education Ministry at the Banting Polytechnic. MAS chairman Tan Sri Mohd Nor Yusof handed the aircraft to the ministry’s secretary-general II Datuk Seri Zaini Ujang.

The aircraft is MAS‘ contribution in line with the airline’s collaboration with the ministry under a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which was signed on Monday. Under the MoU, the Banting Polytechnic will serve as a training laboratory for aircraft maintenance. Muhyiddin said the aviation industry was growing at a rapid pace in the Asia-Pacific region, touching 50 per cent over the last 10 years. He said the industry was expected to see continued growth to more than 200 per cent in the next 20 years. “This trend should be seen in the aspect of the infrastructure readiness such as airports and the expertise to support the industry’s growth. “According to a study conducted by the Official Airline Guide (OAG) Aviation, the global flight schedule capacity between January and April has increased by four per cent in 2012 than in 2011.

“With the aviation industry’s robust growth, Malaysia has the potential to become the aviation hub in the region. The industry can provide multiplier effects to our economy, given the growing passenger and air cargo demand,” he said. Muhyiddin said that between January and July 2013, passengers at all the airports in the country increased to 43.9 million vis-a-vis 38.6 million people during the same period in 2012. He said the total volume of air cargo handled also increased to 529,000 tonnes in the same period. “With the commercial operations of klia2 on May 2, the passenger load is expected to increase to more than 70 million,” he said. Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said that in developing the domestic human capital, the goverment has taken measures to upgrade the education quality to ensure that the graduates from local universities were on par and could compete at international level.

He said a skilled local workforce would convince industrialists that there were good quality, experienced and creative talents in the country. “It has been projected that by next year, our country will need more than 10,000 skilled workforce in aircraft maintenance. “The Education Ministry will continue to support the enhancement and direction of the aviation science field at the Banting Polytechnic as it is the only polytechnic that offers the related programme in Malaysia,” he said. Hence, Muhyiddin urged the polytechnic to work towards attaining recognition as an Approved Training Organisation by the aviation industry. This was imperative for the polytechnic to maintain the quality of its graduates to be in line with the industry’s advancement, he added.

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