Icao ‘likely to lift’ red flag on Thai aviation

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has expressed confidence the country will have its “red-flag” status from the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) lifted soon.

The assurance comes ahead of the ICAO’s planned audit of the CAAT during Sept 20-27, and its ongoing efforts to address significant safety concerns raised by the aviation body.

Thai aviation safety standards have been in doubt since being red-flagged by the UN’s aviation watchdog in June 2015.

CAAT director Chula Sukmanop said the office has corrected the flaws raised by the ICAO including amending related laws and regulations and granting Recertification of Air Operator Certificates (Re-AOC) to airlines.

He said the CAAT and the Transport Ministry expect to receive unofficial results of the ICAO assessment on Sept 27 while the official result is likely a month later.

According to Mr Chula, nine out of 21 airlines which operate international flights have been granted Re-AOC and the CAAT plans to complete the process of granting Re-AOC to the other 12 airlines by Jan 31 next year.

Completing the AOC re-certification is considered instrumental in the CAAT’s efforts to restore Thailand’s aviation safety credentials. Asked about the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order giving the CAAT power to temporarily suspend international flights by the 12 airlines, he said the order is to protect the CAAT.

He said the CAAT has been authorised by the NCPO’s special power under Section 44 of the interim constitution to suspend flights only when they fail to meet safety standards, but these 12 airlines are pending scrutiny and they have yet to achieve recertification.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said earlier the move was to accommodate the ICAO audit and assessment.

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