CAAT helps airlines hit by ICAO ban

CAAT helps airlines hit by ICAO ban

Airlines required to halt international flights during the ICAO’s red-flag re-evaluation next month will be allowed to operate an additional domestic flight per day per route until January. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Airlines required to halt international flights during the ICAO’s red-flag re-evaluation next month will be allowed to operate an additional domestic flight per day per route until January. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has agreed to allow airlines required to halt international flights during the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) red-flag re-evaluation next month to operate an additional domestic flight per day per route until January.

CAAT director Chula Sukmanop yesterday said the measure was to help airlines that will need to temporarily stop operating international flights from Sept 1 because they have yet to be reissued Air Operator Certificates (Re-AOCs).

Those airlines have to pass an ICAO safety standard inspection due to take place around the third week of next month.

Mr Chula was speaking after a CAAT committee meeting, chaired by Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

He said requests to operate one extra domestic flight per route per day must be in compliance with CAAT regulations which stipulate that only three airlines are allowed to operate out of small airports.

Since two airlines operate out of Ranong airport, only one more airline could use the airport, he said.

The extra domestic route will last until Jan 31, next year.

So far, Asia Atlantic Airlines, Thai VietJet Air and Orient Thai Airlines have submitted requests to the agency. However, if airlines receive their Re-AOCs in time they will be allowed to resume international routes immediately.

Airlines that have already sold tickets for after Sept 1 but are required to cancel flights have to find other flights for their passengers.

Nine of 21 airlines without certificates will be issued Re-AOCs this month, according to Mr Chula. NewGen Airways will be among the nine, he said.

Meanwhile, the CAAT has agreed to reduce aircraft parking fees at 38 airports under the supervision of the Airports Department.

This was another measure to help absorb expenses for airlines not allowed to operate international flights during the ICAO inspection, Mr Chula said.

Mr Chula said there are already grounded planes parked at Don Mueang airport, resulting in a waste of usable areas so the measure also aimed at persuading airline operators to park their aircraft at other airports.

Responding to calls to increase security officials at airports made by the ICAO's Universal Security Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring (USAP-CMA) programme, Mr Chula said the CAAT had informed airports nationwide to recruit more security officials to examine passengers' belongings for hazardous objects.

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