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ICAO removes Thailand red flag
Thai Airways. © DR

ICAO removes Thailand red flag

The International Civil Aviation Organisation appears to have removed the red flag placed over the Thai aviation sector for the past two years due to Significant Safety Concerns (SSCs).

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) appears to have removed its red flag over the Thai aviation sector, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT). Following a meeting at ICAO headquarters on 6th October, the red flag symbol that had displayed next to Thailand for the past two years has been removed, although no official ICAO announcement has been forthcoming.

In June 2015, ICAO had announced 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.

Measures taken in response to the ICAO and FAA announcements included the creation of the CAAT and a separate Department of Airports, in place of the former Thai Department of Civil Aviation.

CAA International (CAAi), the advisory arm of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA), was appointed by the CAAT in 2016 to provide full-scale technical assistance and capacity building in the recertification of all Thai registered international airlines. The recertification process had been gathering momentum since the start of the year.

The 6th October meeting followed the visit of an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission during in September, where ICAO auditors spent time at the CAAT to verify progress and corrective actions taken to resolve 33 SSCs and some relating findings, mainly on air operator certification.

The CAAT notes that, although the removal of the red flag is a significant turning point, Thailand and the CAAT need to continue their missions to improve aviation safety standards to world class levels. 

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