On October 6, 2017 at the headquarter of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Montreal, Canada, ICAO SSC Committee held a meeting to discuss on Thailand status of a country with significant safety concerns (SSC). After the meeting, it appeared in Safety Audit Results Section on ICAO website that the red flag symbol which had been pinned in front of Thailand since June 18, 2015 was removed.
The meeting followed the visit of ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission during September 20-27, 2017 where ICAO auditors spent times at the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) to verify the progresses and corrective actions taken to resolve 33 SSC and some relating findings, mainly on air operator certification. The ICAO audit team also made industry visits to 2 airlines recently obtaining AOC recertification.
The lifting of “red flag” status indicates that Thailand has dealt with the problems of under-standard of aviation safety and proceed towards a more internationally acceptable level. The success is an outcome of full commitment and collaboration of public sectors, i.e., Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Cabinet, National Council for Peace and Order, Ministry of Transport, Command Centre for Resolving Civil Aviation Issues, the Fifth Committee for Steering and Reforming of Public Administration and its Sub-Committee on Resolution of Civil Aviation Problems and CAAT, of all airlines: both 11 airlines who have been granted new AOCs and those who yet to complete the recertification process, and of the foreign experts from the United Kingdom, France, Japan and European Union with whom CAAT engaged or requested for technical assistance.
ICAO is scheduled to submit an official ICVM audit report to Thailand within October 2017.
Although lifting red flag is a significant turning point for her aviation industry, Thailand as well as CAAT need to carry on their missions to improve the aviation safety standards and become one of the world’s forefront. Thailand must continue to progress the corrective actions for all findings from the previous inspection in January 2015 under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program – Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA). Similarly, all findings from the recent audit under the Universal Security Audit Program – Continuous Monitoring Approach (USAP-CMA) during 11-21 July 2017 must be rectified.
CAAT aims to raise the level of effective implementation of Thailand and achieve the percentage of global average in each category of aviation safety by introducing the regulatory system which will increase the compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices, the performance of its personnel and the sustainability of Thailand’s aviation industry.