ICAO gives Laos a high score

VIENTIANE, 14 May 2015: The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) team awarded Laos a high score of 73% following a procedures audit last month.

Vientiane Times reported the ICVM team conducted the audit on the country’s civil aviation department, 21 to 27 April, resulting in the DCA revealing details last week to its staff.

DCA general director, Yakua Lorpangkao, was quoted as saying that it was an “historic milestone” to achieve such a high score from the ICAO mission.

The ICVM team inspected civil aviation legislation and regulations, civil aviation organisation, airports, personnel licensing, aircraft operations and air navigation services.

inside no 2The director claimed that the audit concluded there were no significant safety concerns over the country’s aviation management. It  was in sharp contrast to Thailand’s poor evaluation earlier this year. That resulted in Japan banning the introduction of new flight by Thai registered airlines.

“This means Lao Airlines as well as Lao Skyway and Lao Central Air can fly any where in the world, based on the audit’s evaluation,” he said.

ICAO does not reveal details of its scores and audit recommendations. It is up to each member country to decide what it wishes to declare. However, after Thailand’s serious embarrassment, due to negative audit results, earlier this year, both Cambodia and Laos have for the first time revealed they gained favourable results in the latest audits.

Laos was first audited by ICAO in April 1999, followed by the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme in March 2002, to access capability and capacity of the department, especially in relation to legislation and regulations in managing business units in the aviation sector. The results were not made public.

Lao PDR’s DCA has formed a strong partnership with ICAO and other aviation related international organisations, which has resulted in improvements, including the establishment of the first Lao Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) in 2003 and the Law on Civil Aviation in 2005.

Other improvements included the Lao Revised CASR, Regulations on Governing Aerodromes, Regulations on Governing Air Navigation and associated manuals, while other guidelines and procedures were brought into being later on.

ICAO carried out a second audit in October 2010 when a 65.5% approval was given to the department.

On 16 October 2013, Flight 301, an ATR 72-600 (registration RDPL-34233) twin turboprop carrying 44 passengers and five crew, crashed into the Mekong River, at about 1600 local time; all 49 on board died. The aircraft was flying from Vientiane to Pakse in Champasak province in southern Laos, and was attempting to land in bad weather associated with Typhoon Nari.