Govt to ask US to defer aviation safety checks

Govt to ask US to defer aviation safety checks

The government will ask the US Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) to postpone its July inspection of Thai civil aviation operations until Thailand has tackled all the major safety concerns raised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Somchai Piputhawat, director-general of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), said Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith will meet the FAA chief in mid-June to provide US authorities with updates on Thai government efforts to address the ICAO's concerns.

Prior to this Mr Arkhom will lead a delegation to meet the ICAO president in Montreal, Canada, to give a progress report on attempts to correct flaws detected in the ICAO inspection of Thai civil aviation operations, Mr Somchai said.

Mr Somchai said the delegation will seek to convince the FAA that the government is determined to resolve all significant safety concerns pointed out by the ICAO as quickly as possible.

It is hoped the meeting between the Thai delegation and the FAA in the US can give the FAA a better understanding of the DCA's needs and instil more confidence in Thai civil aviation safety standards, he said.

"The meeting should yield fruitful results and it's possible the FAA will consider postponing its planned inspection of Thai civil aviation until Thailand has completely dealt with all of the ICAO's concerns," Mr Somchai said.

With regard to the drafting of the DCA's announcement No.86 concerning the criteria for issuing new air operator's certificates (AOCs), Mr Somchai said the draft is being reviewed to ensure all details are correct before it is signed and comes into effect.

However, he could not say whether this would be completed in time for the announcement deadline set for June 28.

A total of 21 airlines are waiting for their AOCs. The certificates were raised as an item of concern by the ICAO.

However, since the DCA is still in the process of trying to resolve the major safety concerns, consideration of these AOC applications is being put on hold until the DCA has successfully resolved the issues it has with the ICAO and Thailand is removed from the agency's watch list, Mr Somchai said.

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