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Permit issued to Head of AAA revoked

Lamya Abdulla
23 May 2021, MVT 12:32
AAA Flying School in Addu: students have been asking for a solution to the many problems they face in completing their education -- Photo: Mihaaru File
Lamya Abdulla
23 May 2021, MVT 12:32

The permit issued to the Head of the Asian Academy of Aeronautics have been revoked on Sunday by Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry.

In a press statement released by the Ministry on Saturday, the Ministry said they decided to revoke the permit issued to the Head of AAA revoked Suranjan De Silva as he failed to solve the issues faced by the AAA students.

If the AAA flying school fails to address and solve the issues faced by the students, the permit issued to AAA's Accountable Ali Akbar Jeevan would also be revoked. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued the last warning, Ministry had said.

Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry has stated that AAA has not been carrying out the duties they owe to their students.

Last week, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had decided to conduct an independent audit into the issue of AAA. The audit would focus on why the AAA issue was taking such a long time and if CAA had been doing their part in the issue as well.

Due to many complications over the years, the students signed up to AAA takes as much as four years to complete a course that should have taken 12-18 months at most. As most students sign up for this course with the financial backing of student loans, the elongating course completion duration is cause for concern.

AAA has been been audited by CAA in 2019 as well. Although they outlined key areas AAA have to fix, AAA had not put any efforts to fix it, Transport Ministry had said.

Students have been calling to remove AAA

Students of AAA has been calling for solutions to the problems faced for several years now. Some had suggested they remove AAA from Addu and find them another solution.

An AAA student had said there were no airplanes the students can learn how to fly at the moment. According to them, around 14 engineers and technicians had resigned recently. It is unclear when trainings would start again.

When asked, AAA does not inform them when the students can finish their education, the students have said.

Students have been asking the students be given the opportunity to pursue their education from other flying schools.

AAA blames the government

Mohamed Fazeel Rasheed, appointed as the General Manager of AAA in January 2021, blames the government for their inability to fix AAA's issues.

"I sent a letter on April 1 to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, stating that the Ministries have been failing at to the things they are required to, in order to ensure the students their rights. I requested for an appointment. Until this day, I had not received an answer," he told Mihaaru on Saturday.

With the recent changes brought to the way USD is exchanged has been causing AAA issues as well, Fazeel had said. They received the required permits to exchange the money six months after they requested, and that too was USD 200,000 for spare parts.

Even though they received the spare parts last month, several of their employees had resigned because they were not being given their salaries in USD.

Before they resigned, AAA had requested to recruit more students via Economic Ministry. However Economic Ministry had told them to increase the current contracts of the employees at AAA, Fazeel said.

Fazeel additionally stated even though there were issues at AAA, they do not get the cooperation from the government nor CAA to solve the issues and provide the students with a good education.

AAA was started 12 years ago. So far 573 students have received the pilot license there.

According to Fazeel, AAA started facing problems when they started recruiting 70 students every year, based on the face Former President Abdulla Yaamin had said the government would extend the contract if they did so.

AAA's contract would end in July 2021. They do not intend to leave Maldives, Fazeel said.