New aviation licences in the works

New aviation licences in the works

More variety needed to meet demands

Planes fly in a rainmaking formation in Nakhon Sawan province. (File photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Planes fly in a rainmaking formation in Nakhon Sawan province. (File photo by Chanat Katanyu)

A draft of a commercial aviation regulation that will allow the issuance of a licence for flights other than scheduled passengers services -- such as private sightseeing or chemical spraying -- is being deliberated for approval by the Transport Ministry.

The Commercial Aviation Committee, chaired by Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, met to consider the draft on Thursday.

The regulation, subject to approval by Mr Arkhom, will allow commercial aviation companies to apply for licences "that can benefit tourism".

"Once approved, companies can apply for a licence to operate charter flights for sightseeing tours," he said.

Under the new regulation, commercial airliners will also be allowed to apply for licences to operate charter flights to spray chemicals, he added.

Mr Arkhom said after the meeting that there is a growing demand for flights that cater to the specific needs of businesses and communities.

"As such, we saw the need to issue a greater variety of licences," he said.

The draft is expected to be tabled for endorsement by the minister in a few days, although the exact date remains unclear.

A committee will be established to screen the applications for licences.

"The regulations will lay out steps to be followed to apply and/or renew for the licences," according to the minister.

Meanwhile, Chula Sukmanop, the director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, said aviation safety monitoring issues are being addressed. "Only a few areas still need to be improved, as recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)," said Mr Chula.

The ICAO had earlier said that Thailand has achieved an effective implementation of standards score of 65.07%, which exceeds the minimum pass threshold of 60% set by the 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, according to Mr Chula.

Previously, Thailand was red-flagged by the ICAO in June 2015 for failing to adequately deal with 33 "significant safety concerns [SSCs]" within the specified time frame.

The United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given Thailand a Category 2 status since December 2015, shortly after the ICAO imposed its red flag.

The FAA said Thailand fell short across several categories such as pilot qualifications and training. The government then set about trying to fix the flaws.

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