Thai Airways International has reassured the travelling public that it operates with the highest safety standards in all operational areas. While it is unusual for an airline to comment on safety issues, in this case there is a reason – the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has “red flagged” Thailand over significant safety concerns within the country’s aviation sector.
As the only Asian country on the list, other than Nepal, Thailand stands out – so THAI is keen to set the record straight. The problem (which relates to Thailand’s administration rather that to THAI) arose after ICAO, a United Nations agency, warned Thailand that an audit had brought into question the country’s ability to oversee airlines under its jurisdiction.
ICAO gave Thailand 90 days to address its concerns and on Thursday it issued the red flag on the grounds that Thailand had not dealt with the situation by the deadline.
In the light of that, THAI president Charamporn Jotikasthira issued a reassurance to travellers “that THAI operates with the highest safety standards in all operational areas”.
Jotikasthira said that the ICAO definition of a significant safety concern (SSC) did not necessarily indicate a particular safety deficiency in the air navigation service providers, airlines (air operators), aircraft or aerodrome; but, rather, indicates that the State is not providing sufficient safety oversight to ensure the effective implementation of applicable ICAO standards.
Despite the ICAO having “identified that Thailand has a significant safety concern with respect to the ability of the Thai DCA [Department of Civil Aviation] to properly oversee airlines under its jurisdiction,” Jotikasthira said Thai Airways International assured all parties that THAI strictly adheres to the safety standards of the following international agencies:
- EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency)
- FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration)
- CASA (Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority)
- CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China)
- JCAB (Japan Civil Aviation Bureau)
- IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit)
The THAI statement continued: “Since 13 February 2015, when ICAO first issued the SSC on Thai DCA, Thai Airways International has had to rely on other states’ civil aviation authorities to provide oversight for where THAI operates.
“As such, THAI has undergone additional and more frequent safety audits and station inspections by these authorities; and as a result of these audits, THAI has been able to continue operating regular flights to these countries.
“In the very near future, THAI will be audited at the company’s base by other states’ civil aviation authorities.”
Written by Peter Needham