Thailand passes ICAO inspections
Improvements seen in all flight aspects
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) said Thailand achieved an effective implementation of standards score of 65.07%, which exceeds the minimum pass threshold of 60% set by United Nations' aviation watchdog.
The score was awarded after a full team of ICAO officials carried out a Coordinated Validation Mission on Thailand's civil aviation standards between May 13-22, Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) chief Chula Sukmanop said on Monday.
Thailand was red-flagged by the ICAO in June 2015 for failing to adequately deal with "significant safety concerns [SSCs]" within the specified time frame.
After all 33 SSCs were addressed, the UN watchdog lifted the red flag in October 2017, although a lot still needed to be done to meet international standards across all seven categories -- which comprise rules and regulations, regulatory mechanism, officer authorisation, airside operations, fleet airworthiness, flight services, and airport facilities.
"The country only scored 34.2% when it received the red flag four years ago. Now it has risen to meet the international standards across the board," he said.
Mr Chula said that he believes the US Federal Aviation Administration will also upgrade Thailand's aviation status.
"However, the CAAT still needs more inspectors to test pilots -- especially for ATR aircraft -- before inviting the FAA to reassess our score," he said.
Meanwhile, the contracts relating to the construction of Suvarnabhumi airport's third runway are likely to be signed early next year at the latest, according to Airports of Thailand (AoT).
"The new 21.7-billion-baht runway -- which is included in the airport's second-phase development plan -- has been approved by the cabinet, AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said.
The AoT is in the process of drafting the terms of reference (ToR) for the runway construction's bidding process, he said, adding the ToR are likely to be forwarded to the company's board for consideration by June or July.
"It could take up to six months to get the bidding process started and select the winner," Mr Nitinai said. "The winner is expected to sign the contracts either by late this year, or early next year."
The AoT is currently working on the project's environmental and health impact assessment, the results of which will be sent to the National Environmental Board for approval, he said.
The process can be done in parallel with the bidding, he said, adding he is confident the report will be approved.