Fears that Thailand-registered airlines might be banned from European airspace have proved groundless, with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) releasing the results of its latest audit, with no Thai carriers included on its latest list.
EASA’s decision will be a relief to THAI International, the only Thai airline flying into Europe.
Concerns arose after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates US air safety, last month downgraded all Thai airlines to “category 2”, preventing them from establishing new routes.
The US move followed action by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in March to place Thai airlines under “special measures”.
EASA says it will continue to closely monitor aviation standards in Thailand. It regularly updates the list of airlines banned, on safety grounds, from flying into the 28-member European Union.
Indonesian carrier Lion Air remains on the blacklist. The carrier hit headlines in 2013 when it landed a plane in the sea off the coast of Bali and broke the aircraft in half. It later landed a plane on a cow. Amazingly, the only fatality in those incidents was the cow.
EASA conducted its audit after the FAA downgraded Thailand’s safety rating because the country’s civil aviation body failed to address flaws in its commercial aviation standards. As THAI pointed out at the time, the problem was with Thai Government’s commercial aviation administration, not with the airline.
EASA and Thailand’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation signed an agreement last week to work together to help Thailand improve its supervision of air safety.
All airlines from the following countries (except where indicated) are banned from European airspace in the latest list:
- Angola (except for of TAAG Angola, which operates under restrictions and conditions)
- Republic of the Congo
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Gabon (with the exception of Afrijet and SN2AG, which operate under restrictions and conditions)
- Indonesia (with the exception of Garuda Indonesia, Ekspres Transportasi Antarbenua and Indonesia Air Asia)
- Kazakhstan (with the exception of Air Astana, newly cleared)
- Kyrgyz Republic
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
Written by Peter Needham