The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued a “red flag” against Thailand’s civil aviation industry, warning of significant safety concerns that were not resolved within a 90-day deadline.
The warnings stem from an audit conducted by the United Nations Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) on Thailand’s air transport safety certification in February.
ICAO warned Thai civil aviation authorities about the poor certification and safety standards, and gave the Thailand 90 days to comply with its standards. Thailand’s failure to do so thus earned it a red flag on the ICAO list.
According to the ICAO, Thailand was not providing sufficient safety oversight to ensure the effective implementation of ICAO standards. It also warned of insufficient inspection personnel and leniency in issuing air transport licenses.
There was also a conflict of interest in Thailand’s department of civil aviation safety as the same department is in charge of regulating and operating the provincial airports in the country.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is set to make an announcement on this issue on 25th June, but an outright ban on Thai airlines flights to Europe was unlikely. Thai Airways is the only Thai-registered airline that makes flights to Europe.
Recently the Economic Intelligence Center of Siam Commercial Bank has warned that a red flag would cause international aviation agencies to re-think the safety of Thai aviation facilities.
“If Thailand’s air safety rating is downgraded by international aviation agencies, Thai airlines will face the loss of goodwill, higher operating costs, and increasing competition from foreign carriers,” says a spokesperson.
“Charter carriers will lose out as their operating licenses are issued on a case-by-case basis. Full service airlines and medium haul low cost carriers will experience setbacks in their growth plans from the inability to establish new routes or increase their flight frequencies.”