ICAO revokes Thailand’s ‘red flag’ status
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) revoked the ‘red flag’ status of Thailand, issued back in 2015 over security concerns, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced. The move has already caused the shares of Thailand’s carriers to jump up, according to Reuters.
The removal of the ‘red flag’ status followed a ICAO representatives’ visit to Thailand during September 20-27, 2017. The visit was organized in order to verify the progress and corrective actions taken to resolve findings related to security concerns. The ICAO audit team also made industry visits to 2 airlines recently obtaining AOC recertification. ICAO is scheduled to submit an audit report within October 2017.
“The lifting of “red flag” status indicates that Thailand has dealt with the problems of under-standard of aviation safety and proceeds towards a more internationally acceptable level”, said CAAT in a statement. “Although lifting red flag is a significant turning point for her aviation industry, Thailand as well as CAAT need to carry on their missions to improve the aviation safety standards and become one of the world’s forefront. Thailand must continue to progress the corrective actions for all findings from the previous inspection in January 2015 under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program – Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA). Similarly, all findings from the recent audit under the Universal Security Audit Program – Continuous Monitoring Approach (USAP-CMA) during 11-21 July 2017 must be rectified”.
In 2015, ICAO red-flagged Thailand aviation safety after finding various breaches and lapses, especially among Thai budget airlines that showed serious gaps in safety standards. Following the decision, Korea, Japan and the US forbid Thai airlines from opening new routes to these countries, while the US also forbid Thailand’s carriers from signing code-share agreements with its carriers.
As part of the effort to restore its reputation, Thailand reorganized its former Department of Civil Aviation into three separate bodies, including CAAT, and launched the Air Operator Certificates (AOC) recertification program, mandatory for all country’s carriers with international operations. From September 1, 2017 twelve Thai airlines that did not complete the AOC recertification program prior the given deadline were banned from operating international flights.
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