The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand is planning to grant air operating licenses (AOL) to two new carriers after the red flag that was slapped on by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over the country’s aviation problems, was lifted last month.
Thailand is now set to expand its aviation industry, which came under intense scrutiny after it was red-flagged in June of 2015 by the ICAO for its failure to comply with global aviation safety requirements.
“Now we can increase the number of new airlines,” said CAAT Chief Chula Sukmanop, adding the increase would hasten the growth of commercial air travel in the country.
Just recently, two new airline operators have requested the CAAT to issue them AOLs to launch domestic routes. A committee would review their requests this month before pushing it to Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith for a final decision.
Chula said the process should take about three months, a prerequisite for the operators to request for air operator’s certificates (AOC), which are also significant for air operations.
The CAAT boss added that his agency expects its work to be frenetic as several other airlines are also seeking an AOC or want to have their AOC reissued.
The process of “Re-AOC,” or recertification of air operator’s certificates, normally takes between six and eight months to finish. Authorities are reissuing an AOC to nine Thai-registered airlines after they completed reissuing the certificates to 12 other airlines. They are mandated to go through a process to apply for the AOC once more, as part of the procedure for regaining the confidence of the ICAO.
The ICAO uncovered problems in Thai aviation safety standards with regards to regulating aviation trade and permitting air operator certificates. ICAO officials also expressed concerns over regulations on the transport of hazardous items, including batteries, engines and flammable substances.
A former aviation executive earlier said that Thailand previously suffered a shortage of personnel who were tasked with accrediting aviation safety standards and giving out the certificates. This was believed to be a key factor in Thailand’s failure to keep its aviation regulations in line with the ICAO standards.
The issues prompted the country to change and update laws regarding the aviation industry as well as grant a Re-AOC to airlines, eventually leading to the red flag being removed.
Thai VietJet Air, the subsidiary of Vietnamese low-cost group VietJet Air, is the latest recipient of the process, getting its AOC reissued last Wednesday, which allows it to resume the operation of international flights.
The airline is gearing up to open a new route between Bangkok and Da Lat in southern Vietnam on December 18, offering four flights a week, the Transport Minister said, as he supervised over a ceremony to give the AOC to the airline.
Next in line to receive the reissuance of an AOC is Orient Thai Airlines.