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SIXTEEN airlines registered in Thailand have failed safety and related regulatory assessments conducted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), requiring them to suspend operations until they get new Air Operator’s Certificates (AOCs), as authorities enforce stricter rules in accordance with requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The ICAO is due to send delegates to inspect Thailand’s new aviation safety regulatory system later this month or in early October, after which the agency is expected to consider lifting its “red flag”, which was imposed in 2015 due to safety concerns.
According to a government committee chaired by Deputy Premier Prawit Wongsuwan, Thai authorities had already issued AOCs to nine airlines under the new regulatory system, while another 11 airlines were in the process of applying for AOCs.
Due to the Thai aviation sector’s rapid growth rate over the past decades, there have been concerns about safety and other issues facing a large number of airlines registered in Thailand.
In addition, the regulatory system needs to be overhauled to cope with new challenges resulting in the restructuring of multiple agencies, including the CAAT.
As a result of failing to pass the CAAT’s assessments, all 16 airlines were ordered to suspend their service as of last Friday, in line with the ICAO’s regulations.
According to Colonel Sirichan Nga-thong, a spokesperson for Prawit, the ICAO had already inspected the safety and other related aspects at Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang international airports as well as those of the CAAT in July. The results are understood to be satisfactory with no significant safety or related concerns.
After ICAO delegates review the country’s overall aviation safety and regulatory system, the agency is expected to report its assessment within the next 60 days, especially regarding the status of the red flag affecting Thailand.
Thailand has faced a shortage of qualified personnel and training officials regarding aviation and safety issues following years of a boom in the aviation and tourism sectors.
The number of foreign tourists has increased rapidly over past decades to about 30 million this year.