April 9, 2015
Thai government to introduce two new aviation safety entities
After receiving a negative Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP) report from ICAO, two new aviation entities—the National Civil Aviation Institute (NCAI) and the Air Transport Department (ATD)—will handle aviation and infrastructure safety compliance, respectively, with the intention of replacing the existing Thai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) which has witnessed lapses in safety oversight at crew, aircraft and airport levels as of January this year. As a consequence of these identified lapses there has been an announcement of a blanket flight ban on new Thai schedules by both Japanese and South Korean aviation authorities. The flight ban applies to all new charter and changed scheduled services from Thai-registered carriers.
Thai Airways president Charamporn Jotikasthira has made it clear that establishing the new NCAI and ATD agencies should help “trigger a leap in improvements in [Thai] aviation safety monitoring standards.” Both the NCAI and ICAO will hire European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and FAA compliance specialists to make sure the required ICAO standards are met. In view of these immediate efforts, Japan has withheld enforcing the ban until May 31st in order for charter flights to continue for six weeks over the crucial Songkran tourist festival period, signing agreements with five carriers Thai Airways, Asian Air, Thai AirAsia X, JetAsia, NokScoot and Asia Atlantic. Australia, China, France and Germany are already reportedly in discussion with Thai authorities regarding the possibility of individual flight agreements as well.