Thai avi­a­tion in­dus­try ‘ready’ for ICAO re-au­dit by Sept.

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Thai­land should be ready for a re-au­dit by the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ICAO) on safety stan­dards by Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber, In­done­sian Deputy Trans­port Min­is­ter Arkhom Termpit­taya­paisith has said.

Mean­while, a Euro­pean Com­mis­sion press re­lease yesterday said that it has up­dated the EU Air Safety List, which in­cludes air­lines that are sub­ject to an op­er­at­ing ban or op­er­a­tional re­stric­tions within the Euro­pean Union. All air­lines from the Philip­pines, banned since 2010, have been re­moved from the list and can there­fore re­turn to Euro­pean airspace. No new bans have been im­posed in this up­date.

Arkhom, who vis­ited ICAO’s head­quar­ters ear­lier this month, told The Na­tion that the re-au­dit­ing process would be­gin once all 28 air­lines reg­is­tered in Thai­land have been re-cer­ti­fied by Thai author­i­ties.

The ICAO should re­move the red flag against Thai­land on its web­site once the avi­a­tion author­i­ties pass the re-au­dit. The red flag has raised sig­nif­i­cant safety con­cerns in re­la­tion to the Thai air­line in­dus­try.

Arkhom said the cor­rec­tive ac­tion plan ap­proved by the ICAO in­cludes im­prov­ing air-op­er­a­tor cer­ti­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments and Flight Op­er­a­tion In­spec­tor Man­u­als, which are now 95-per­cent com­plete.

Next week, a hear­ing will be held on air­lines’ opin­ions on the up­dated man­u­als, which should be ap­plied to all air­lines shortly af­ter.

The next step would be the train­ing of and re­cruit­ment of more li­censed in­spec­tors, whose num­bers will be in­creased from 11 to 48 to meet the ris­ing num­ber of air­lines op­er­at­ing here. The in­spec­tors’ work will be based on the new man­u­als, which will help meet Thai­land’s fast­grow­ing avi­a­tion in­dus­try meet ICAO safety stan­dards.

Rapid growth over re­cent decades has re­sulted in ma­jor safety con­cerns ow­ing to the coun­try’s in­abil­ity to ex­pand its reg­u­la­tory and other ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

So far, the planned Thai AirAsia X flight from Bangkok to Sap­poro is the only one hit by the ICAO red flag.

Thai Air­ways

In­ter­na­tional and other air­lines have re­mained un­af­fected, while Euro­pean and U.S. avi­a­tion author­i­ties have yet to an­nounce any mea­sures on Thai car­ri­ers.

The Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FAA) will send a team of of­fi­cials to Thai­land from July 13 to 17.

Arkhom said the Trans­port Min­istry would also re­or­ga­nize the Depart­ment of Civil Avi­a­tion into four sep­a­rate agen­cies re­spon­si­ble for dif­fer­ent roles as reg­u­la­tor/ li­cens­ing, air- ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion, res­cue work, etc.

He said Prime Min­is­ter Pra- yuth Chan-ocha might ex­er­cise his ab­so­lute power un­der the in­terim char­ter’s Ar­ti­cle 44 to speed up the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion process.

On June 18, ICAO pub­licly red­flagged Thai­land cit­ing sig­nif­i­cant safety con­cerns af­ter no­ti­fy­ing avi­a­tion of­fi­cials in Fe­bru­ary of is­sues that have to be cor­rected. Thai­land was given 90 days to cor­rect the is­sues.

Arkhom said the red flag was not made public in Fe­bru­ary, but it be­came public af­ter Thai author­i­ties missed a 90-day dead­line to fix these is­sues.

At present, 12 other coun­tries are also red-flagged by the ICAO, in­clud­ing An­gola, Botswana, Ge­or­gia, Haiti, Le­banon, Nepal and Uruguay.

Mean­while, Trans­port Min­is­ter ACM Pra­jin Jun­tong Thurs­day in­structed the Civil Avi­a­tion Depart­ment to brace for an im­pact if the Euro­pean Avi­a­tion Safety Agency (EASA) moved some re­ac­tion over Thai avi­a­tion.

EASA, which has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing Thai avi­a­tion safety stan­dards since the ICAO au­dit, was re­port­edly ex­pected to an­nounce its find­ings Thurs­day.

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