China likely to ban Thai charter flights, execs admit
published : 8 May 2015 at 18:00
writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook
Chinese aviation authorities likely will ban Thai charter airlines from their skies when they arrive for an inspection of four carriers next week, Thai airline executives said Friday.
Piya Yodmani, chief executive officer of NokScoot, said Chinese aeronautical officials will arrive Monday or Tuesday to check maintenance and operational procedures of his airline, Orient Thai Airlines, City Airways and R Airlines.
Regardless of their findings, however, the Chinese officials likely will halt arrivals by the charter carriers, executives from two airlines admitted.
Udom Tantiprasongchai, advisory chairman of Orient Thai Airlines, said China's aviation authority is prioritising scheduled carriers over charter flights due to airspace congestion and to protect Chinese airlines.
Next week inspections are in response to an application by NokScoot to launch a Bangkok-Nanjing flight as well as safety concerns raised by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which has threatened to blacklist Thai carriers over the government's airline-certification standards.
"Civil aviation authorities of China are focus on suspect or new airlines," Mir Piya said. "NokScoot is a new carrier waiting for a permit to fly to China. We are ready for the authorities' examination."
Mr Udom on Friday also confirmed the upcoming visit by the Chinese officials and insisted his airline also was ready for inspection. Even though Orient Thai were using old aircraft, its maintenance records can be checked, he added.
Orient Thai Airlines and City Airways operate both scheduled and chartered flights. R Airlines operates only chartered flights to China, said a source.