PM praises ailing THAI over awards

PM praises ailing THAI over awards

'The prime minister offers his congratulations to THAI' - the airline he pilloried and now praises for its improvements.
'The prime minister offers his congratulations to THAI' - the airline he pilloried and now praises for its improvements.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has congratulated national carrier Thai Airways International (THAI) for its winning a host of awards, including one for the world's most improved airline.

Speaking about the government's efforts to address the Thai aviation sector's shortcomings, Maj Gen Sansern said progress was gradual.

The changes are taking place under a plan worked out by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

Authorities are also working with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to address the issue, he said, adding THAI is now in its second phase of reform.

The aviation sector has come under scrutiny after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) issued a "red flag", indicating significant safety concerns, in June last year after Thailand's failure to meet standards in regulating aviation businesses and granting air operator certificates (AOCs).

Maj Gen Sansern said 17 CAAT staff members have undergone training for aviation safety inspectors and 52 others for other safety issues.

A UK-based organisation has been hired to examine and reissue AOCs, and Thailand will work with the EASA and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to upgrade the oversight of the Thai civil aviation safety in the long run, he said.

The country is due to be audited by the ICAO from December to Mach next year.

The ICAO has commended the government for showing commitment to change and adopting a clear approach in solving the safety issues through the inter-agency collaboration.

The ICAO has also sent eight experts to work with Thai authorities to help the country meet the ICAO's aviation safety requirements.

In May, ex-THAI managing director Alongkot Poolsuk was appointed director of the CAAT.

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