UN says Thai­land lax on over­see­ing air­lines

The China Post - - CLASSIFIEDS -

Thai­land has failed to meet a dead­line for ad­dress­ing safety con­cerns about its over­sight of its air­lines and has been added to a list of na­tions whose avi­a­tion author­i­ties fall short of in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, the U.N. body reg­u­lat­ing world air traf­fic said Fri­day.

A spokesman for the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, An­thony Philbin, said in an email from the group’s head­quar­ters in Mon­treal that its main con­cern fo­cused on Thai­land’s abil­ity to con­duct air op­er­a­tor cer­ti­fi­ca­tions.

ICAO au­dited Thai­land in Jan­uary — for the first time since 2005 — and in March gave Thai author­i­ties 90 days to rec­tify short­com­ings it had found. Thai­land failed to meet the dead­line and joined 12 other na­tions found de­fi­cient in man­ag­ing their air­lines: An­gola, Botswana, Dji­bouti, Eritrea, Ge­or­gia, Haiti, Kaza­khstan, Le­banon, Malawi, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Uruguay. There are 187 ICAO mem­bers in all.

Thai­land’s pre­lim­i­nary list­ing in March caused dis­rup­tion to the coun­try’s air­line in­dus­try, as the ICAO eval­u­a­tion led Ja­pan, South Korea and China to tem­po­rar­ily block Thai air­lines from adding more flights or oth­er­wise mod­i­fy­ing their sched­ules.

Philbin and Thai trans­port of­fi­cials stressed that the new list­ing does not amount to a fresh down­grad­ing of Thai avi­a­tion, and said the coun­try’s avi­a­tion author­i­ties are work­ing hard to cor­rect the prob­lems. The ICAO spokesman said Thai Deputy Trans­port Min­is­ter Arkhom Termpit­taya­paisith trav­eled to ICAO head­quar­ters re­cently “to stress his coun­try’s com­mit­ment, at the high­est level, to con­tinue to ad­dress this mat­ter in their civil avi­a­tion au­thor­ity, and we con­tinue to work col­lab­o­ra­tively with Thai­land to help it achieve that goal.”

How­ever, the is­sue is likely to con­tinue to draw at­ten­tion from avi­a­tion bod­ies in Europe and the United States, whose assess­ments are in­flu­en­tial world­wide, and could lead to new re­stric­tions on in­ter­na­tional flights by Thai air­lines.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Pra­jin Jun­tong said at a news con­fer­ence Fri­day that air op­er­a­tor cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and per­mis­sion to ship haz­ardous goods were the ma­jor is­sues cited by ICAO.

He said the Euro­pean Civil Avi­a­tion Con­fer­ence has been eval­u­at­ing Thai­land’s avi­a­tion mea­sures and is ex­pected to an­nounce on June 25 its pol­icy on Thai air­lines.

AP

The world’s small­est toy he­li­copter “Pico-Fal­con” is demon­strated at the In­ter­na­tional Tokyo Toy Show in Tokyo on Satur­day, June 20. The 59-mil­lime­ter-long he­li­copter can fly for about four min­utes.

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