More concerns for the safety of all Thai airlines
The Federal Aviation Administration in America announced Tuesday that it was downgrading Thailand’s aviation safety rating to Category 2 because the country did not comply with international standards. In stripping it of the Category 1 rating it received in 1997, the FAA said Thailand’s civil aviation authority failed to meet “minimum international standards.” Category 1 means that the country complies with International Civil Aviation Organization standards.The decision means Thai airlines will be banned from opening new routes to the United States or expanding existing ones.Whilst no Thai airlines currently operate direct routes to the U.S, the concern is that the FAA’s downgrades may be matched by other global aviation authorities such as the European Union(EU) which would have a significant impact on flag carrier Thai Airways operations. The EU used an FAA downgrade of Indonesia’s aviation-safety standards to impose a total flight ban on that country’s airlines for several years. The country came under scrutiny when the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), “red flagged” Thailand in June over safety concerns. AirlineRatings.com allocates two of its seven stars for safety to meeting or exceeding all 8 ICAO audit parameters . The ‘red flagging’ of the country in June led to an automatic deduction of 2 stars for all Thai registered airlines and today’s news has resulted in a further one star deduction.Thai Airways and subsidiary Thai Smile remain the highest scoring airline for safety in Thailand with a score of 4/7. Following this is Thai Orient and Bangkok air on three stars and on just two stars, Nok Air and AirAsia Thailand. Suggested Read: How we work out our seven star safety rating system and why In response to the FAA’s decision, Thailand’s prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, ordered a swift overhaul of his country’s aviation systems.He acknowledged the setback could undermine confidence in the military leadership that seized power in a 2014 coup.”Therefore, all must join hands to bring peace to the country,” he said, according to the Bangkok Post. “Don’t try to pick a quarrel, because doing so will not lead us out of crisis.”The country’s leading international carrier, Thai Airways, issued a statement defending its safety record.It said the decision would have no impact on its business or customers as it ceased its only U.S. destination flight, to Los Angeles, in October, although it continues to operate code share connections.”Thai confirms its commitment to aviation safety standards and assures all that Thai operates with the highest international aviation safety standards,” it said.