Fees only accepted in USD- Flying school refuses to back down

Multi engine aircraft at the Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA) | Photo: AAA

Addu City, Maldives – Students at The Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA), the Flying school in Gan, Addu City have had their flights come to a standstill as the school continues to accept course fees in USD only.

The AAA student union stated today that Bank of Maldives (BML) had informed the school’s management that the bank would not be issuing USD for AAA invoices. The students union added that they requested the school to allow students to pay in MVR.

However, the students union says that the school has not replied to their email requesting this, and that some instructors have made verbal remarks indicating that fees cannot be accepted in MVR, and that even if fees are to be accepted in MVR, it will be at the high rate of 19.40 per dollar.

The standard price of 1 USD in the Maldives is MVR15.42. The alleged rate proposed by AAA is closer to current Maldivian black market USD rates than bank rates.

The union added that the school had no issue with fee payments in MVR just a while back, but have now made it mandatory for course fee’s to be paid in USD.

The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) has filed a complaint last Monday with the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) and the Maldives Police Service regarding the AAA demanding that students pay their fees in US Dollars, which is a violation of the monetary regulations.

The Student’s Union of the school has previously filed multiple complaints with the Ministry of Higher Education and Maldives Civil Aviation Authority, due to unfair terminations and alleged discrimination.

But the school has turned a blind eye to demands by authorities, going as far to directly go against a request by the MoHE by disregarding the Ministry’s request to not accept any new students until currently enrolled students finish their courses and announced courses for 2021 and opened enrollment for these.

They had also failed to follow up an earlier request by the MoHE in October, which stated that the school must find a solution to all issues faced by students within 20 working days

The Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives Aishath Nahula has previously vowed to take action against Academy after 15 students were terminated with apparent malicious intent.