BANGKOK, 30 June 2017: Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called the country’s civil aviation agency to speed up reforms and procedural upgrades to prepare for an ICAO inspection this September.
According to the Royal Thai Government website, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed satisfaction on progress made to resolve civil aviation short-comings that were identified by an International Civil Aviation Organisation audit in June 2015.
One of the first outcomes was the formation of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) that took over from the now defunct Department of Civil Aviation in October 2015. CAAT has re-certified six Thailand-based airlines so far since September 12, 2016, in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)’s standard and recommendations.
The six airlines are: Bangkok Airways; Thai AirAsia; Thai Airways International; NokScoot; Thai AirAsia X and Nok Air. They cover 80% of all the international aviation routes served Thai air operators.
It is expected that 12 airlines altogether will be recertified by September and the rest will be completed by January 2018.
The inspection and recertification by CAAT is an important condition for the lowering of red flag alerts imposed by ICAO. The ICAO audit at the time identified 33 “significant safety concerns (SSCs) of which most applied to procedures and supervision by the former Department of Civil Aviation.
The Prime Minister instructed the Ministry of Transport to expedite implementation of all plans to ensure the country would be ready for the audit of Thailand’s aviation safety standards in September.
Most of the safety issues raised by the 33 SSCs related to laws and regulations, work procedures, checklist manuals, and staff training.
The Cabinet approved in principle a draft Civil Aviation Act to address national civil aviation issues in the long run. The bill is now being deliberated by National Legislative Assembly. Organisational reforms have been implemented through establishment of CAAT and Department of Airports.
To strengthen its ‘organisation’ performance, the Thai government replaced the Department of Civil Aviation, 1 October 2015, with the independent entity, Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, that covers airport and airline regulatory standards and the Department of Airports that manages 28 airports that were previously under the DCA.