The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has announced that Bangkok Airways has been successfully recertified to the international safety standards of ICAO. Bangkok Airways is the first of Thailand’s international airlines to receive its AOC recertification as part of CAAT’s recertification programme, in partnership with CAA International (CAAi), part of the International Directorate of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA).
Bangkok Airways is part of an initial group of nine carriers, all of which are expected to be recertified by June 2017.
The procedure is the culmination of a programme launched in the aftermath of ICAO’s announcement in 2015 of Significant Safety Concerns (SSCs) regarding the Thai aviation sector, followed by the FAA decision to downgrade the country’s safety rating from Category 1 to Category 2, preventing Thai carriers from opening new routes to the U.S.
Measures taken in response to the ICAO and FAA announcements included the creation of CAAT and a separate Department of Airports, in place of the former Thai Department of Civil Aviation.
CAAi was appointed by CAAT in 2016 to provide full-scale technical assistance and capacity building in the recertification of all Thai registered international airlines and to support CAAT ahead of its next ICAO audit. The eight Thai operator’s currently undergoing recertification include the six largest airlines in Thailand that account for carrying a combined total of more than 100 million passengers per year.
Thai Airways operations to Europe have not been affected, though EASA has said it would be monitoring the conditions of air safety oversight in Thailand.
Thailand is expected to be audited by ICAO in 2017 to address the SSC finding in 2015. CAAi will be providing audit preparation assistance to CAAT to help resolve the SSC.