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ICAO removes red flag on Thai aviation

The United Nations aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), has removed Thailand’s Significant Safety Concern on its website, following a recent visit by ICAO auditors.

“Although lifting the 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”, the statement concluded.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), the decision to remove the red flag came after an ICAO audit of CAAT from September 20-27, where CAAT’s progress and corrective actions taken to resolve the 33 SSCs were reviewed.

The International Civil Aviation Organization has announced the removal of the red flag that hindered Thai-registered airlines from expanding routes.

“The fact that ICAO have lifted the red-flag it once issued Thailand shows their trust in us and the global community’s faith in Thailand’s aviation industry”, the prime minister said. “Thai airlines are expected to add more potential routes”, he said.

ICAO had said that SSC status does not necessarily indicate a particular safety deficiency in air navigation service providers, airlines, aircraft or aerodromes, but indicates the state is not providing sufficient safety oversight to ensure effective implementation of applicable ICAO standards.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which downgraded Thailand to Category II status after ICAO placed the red flag on Thailand, has yet to reappoint Thailand to Category I. The FAA also downgraded Thailand in 2015.

Asia Plus Securities expects Thai Airways International Plc with its plans for more routes in Japan, South Korea and the United States to see the highest gain, followed by Nok Air which plans to expand its routes in Japan and South Korea.

Thai AirAsia X CEO Nadda Buranasiri said his airline was studying new routes, including to Hokkaido in Japan, after the red flag was lifted.

The airline will add at least three new Airbus A330-300 wide-body jets to its six-aircraft fleet, introducing more North Asian routes and debuting flights to Europe and Australia.

Kasikorn Research Center also reported that the ICAO removal of the red flag will boost Thailand’s aviation revenue to the tune of achieving Bt278 billion by the end of this year and will achieve Bt294.5 billion in the year 2018 or up 5.5 per cent from this year. Shares in Asia Aviation, which operates as Thai Air Asia, rose as much as 5 percent and later traded up almost 4 percent. Thai Airways declined to comment. Shares in airport operator Airports of Thailand rose over 2 percent. Bangkok Airways Plc’s share price ended at Bt18.80 per share, up 1.06 per cent from Friday.

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