Thai Airlines Escape Europe Blacklist

Photo: Wong Chi Lam

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All Thai-registered airlines have avoided being put on the list of airlines with sub-standard safety practices in the latest audit by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.

The EASA, which announced its inspection results, found 214 airlines from 19 countries failed to meet safety standards but “no Thai airlines were listed”, Mr Arkhom said.

The minister attributed the success to a closer working relationship between the EASA and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

The CAAT was founded to deal directly with inadequate aviation standards, which resulted in Thailand being “red-flagged” by the UN-based International Civil Aviation Organisation last June.

The EASA usually conducts an inspection every six months. During this round of inspections, CAAT authorities as well as representatives from the air force and its civil aviation problem-solving command were sent to update the agency on Thailand’s efforts to improve aviation safety standards, the transport minister said.

“As a result, the EASA is more confident in our measures to address flaws,” he said. Thailand will continue to work with the EASA by bringing in agency experts to assess key issues of aviation safety.

On another front, the CAAT is stepping up efforts to train inspectors who will work on the re-certification of pilots and airlines which fail to meet aviation safety standards.

The agency has 23 inspectors with another 10 from UK-based CAA International Limited providing assistance.

“But in the future we must have at least 30 inspectors of our own,” Mr Arkhom said.

The CAAT is currently working to re-certify 27 airlines, all of which operate international flights. Authorities expect an initial group of 16 airlines to go through the process.

Authorities initially expected to have to re-certify 28 airlines. However, the figure dropped to 27 after one airline had its aviation operation licences revoked, Mr Arkhom said.

At least seven airlines have already submitted applications needed for the re-certification.