Thai Airways International (THAI) has become the latest Thai carrier to be recertified by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT). Read More »
At a ceremony held at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thai transport minister, Arkhom Termpittiyapaisith, handed THAI acting president, Usanee Sangsingkeo, the flag carrier’s new air operator certificate (AOC) and dangerous goods certificate.
THAI was the third carrier to receive its AOC, reissued by CAAT director Chula Sukmanop, following Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia, but it was the first Thai carrier to get the dangerous goods certificate reissued.
Nine of the 23 Thai-registered airlines, which account for more than 70% of all international flights out of the country, are poised to have their AOCs reissued before the ICAO safety experts re-assess Thai aviation’s operational issues next month, while the remaining 14 are expected to be given approval by January.
In ICAO’s initial audit last year, it scored Thailand as less than 50% compliant across all sectors of Thai aviation infrastructure and safety oversight. The operations sector was the worst performer with an ICAO score of 10.7% out of 100%.
Re-issuing the AOCs involves five stages. Final approval is dependent on Chula who must personally consider the findings of CAAT specialists in aviation operations, airworthiness, safety and carriage of dangerous goods. One of the issues that resulted in ICAO red flagging Thailand was a continuing shortage of qualified CAAT inspectors.
Thailand is one of eight countries marked with an ICAO red flag, which denotes “serious security concerns”, in particular oversight, transparency, training and understaffing. In December 2015, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) effectively barred Thai airlines from launching routes to the U.S. or code sharing with U.S. carriers. No Thai airlines are disqualified from flying to Europe according to the EU Air Safety List, updated in December.
CAAT’s recertification program was carried out in partnership with CAA International (CAAi), the advisory arm of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA).”We are delighted to have assisted CAAT in recertifying its flag carrier to ICAO standards and we remain fully committed to supporting CAAT as we enter the next phase of this significant project,” CAAi managing director, Maria Rueda, said.
THAI has had to put its plans for a return to the U.S. on hold. After dropping services to Los Angeles and New York, the Star Alliance founding member told Orient Aviation it would like to return to North America with flights either to Seattle, San Francisco or Vancouver. The latter two are the more viable options, given the hub presence of Star fellows Air Canada and United Airlines.