Parliament Committee summons two cabinet ministers over AAA issue

Minister of Higher Education Dr. Ibrahim Hassan and Minister of Transport Aishath Nahula | Photo: Addulive

Malé, Maldive – The Parliament Committee on National Development and Heritage meets with the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Ibrahim Hassan and Minister of Transport, Aishath Nahula regarding the worsening AAA issues.

The committee is addressing the flight school issue again 5 months since they first visited Addu City to evaluate the situation.

The National Development Committee in February 2021 called on the government to seek compensation for the damages incurred by the students of the flying school established in Addu City by the Sri Lankan company, Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA).

The announcement came following the committee’s trip to the AAA in December 2020, where the members met with the management and students of the school in order to look into the issues raised by the students. The committee highlighted multiple issues after the visit to the academy, which was compiled into a report.

The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation removed the license of Addu Aeronautical Academy (AAA)’s Head of Training Suranjan De Silva effective 23 May 2021.

In their statement, the Ministry of Transport explain that the license was cancelled due to lack of accountability by the management in solving issues faced by the school and supporting the students complete their course, indefinitely prolonging the duration of their study.

The Transport Ministry also warns that if the school fails to take timely action, they will remove the license issued to AAA’s Accountable Manager Ali Akbar Jeevanji.

While the agreement between AAA and Gan International Airport is to expire this July, all operations at the flying school have come to a halt since the 11 May 2021, with no operable aircrafts. The engineers at the facility have also resigned and departed to their countries over issues in their salary. The school has not yet informed any of the students when an aircraft at the location will be operable or when an engineer will join the school at the earliest.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has made decisions regarding some of the issues of Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA).

The President has ordered to,

  • Investigate the Head of Pilot training and the accountable manager as per the problems noted in the audit by the Civil Aviation Authority.
  • The Civil Aviation Authority for neglect, due to the delay in solving the AAA issues through an independent commission.
  • Transfer the student loans taken from Bank of Maldives to Ministry of Higher Education due to increasing interests.

AAA’s General Manager Mohamed Fazeel criticized the government’s decisions and accused the state of attacking the flight school. Fazeel said that action cannot be taken against the school due to news media content and tweets from students. He said that this is 2021 and decisions must be evidence-based. Students might say anything and their statements must be investigated in order to set things correctly. Fazeel also urged the government to renew its license with AAA.

The AAA student union has previously called out various government authorities and the parliament for their inaction in May. They said that the Gender Ministry was informed of the flying school harassing its students 3 months ago with no action being taken. While Education Minister Dr. Ibrahim Hassan promised that AAA students will be provided the opportunity to continue their education abroad, Transport Minister Aishath Nahula pledged to take action against the school for negligence towards the students, with no action being taken since by either ministry. Similarly, the parliament released a report on the problems faced with no follow up action.

AAA has been facing a series of problems for over a year. While government and parliament made promises to solve these issues, there has been no actionable solutions.

Students of AAA are now looking at legal options while MP Rozaina Adam of Addu Meedhoo Constituency urged the students to file a lawsuit and get compensation from the school.