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FAA team to test aviation standards

Jul 13. 2015
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By SUCHAT SRITAMA
THE NATION

OFFICIALS FROM the United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will arrive in Bangkok today to review Thailand's air safety progress and compliance with international standards.

The FAA’s air safety experts under an International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme are scheduled to meet with officials from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and major airlines, including Thai Airways International.

It will be the FAA’s first visit to Thailand since the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) visited in January to hold extensive tests before declaring in February that Thailand did not meet with the ICAO’s Significant Safety Concern (SSC) safety standards.

Parichat Kotcharat, director-general of DCA, and her team will meet with the FAA experts, said Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong. The Thai officials will provide the latest information and progress of aviation procurement to FAA and IASA officials. The US team is expected to oversee and examine a revised aviation manual and overall action plans being prepared.

“FAA will be in the country until Friday. The DCA and its team have already met twice to prepare for the arrival of the FAA and IASA,” said Prajin.

Prajin confessed that certifying airline’s licenses was one of the major issues that led the country having safety problems and the problems would be solved in time. According to a source at DCA, the visit of the FAA officials will help enhance the entire aviation industry, particularly safety standards. It will also help airlines registered in Thailand have a chance to learn oversights and mistakes.

“Without the arrival of the ICAO and FAA team, our aviation problem would take longer time to ease although we have set a dateline by final quarter this year,” the same source said.

Charamporn Jotikasthira, president of Thai Airways International, said he would meet with FAA and IASA on Thursday. However, no audit of the national airline is scheduled.

“THAI has no problem with safety standards and we are able to operate anywhere,” said Charamporn. He added the airline would continue its cost–cutting measures along with initiating new strategies to return to profit.

Under the IASA program, the FAA determines the fitness of air carriers in countries that that operate, or seek to operate, in the US, or code share with a US air carrier, and make sure they comply with safety standards established by ICAO.

The IASA programme is administered by the FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS), Flight Standards Service (AFS), International Programs and Policy Division (AFS-50).

According to the ICAO, the IASA programme focuses on a country’s ability, not the ability of individual air carriers, to adhere to international aviation safety standards and recommended practices contained in Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing), Annex 6 (Operation of Aircraft), and Annex 8 (Airworthiness of Aircraft) to the International Convention on Civil Aviation “Chicago Convention”.

IASA assessments determine compliance with these international standards by focusing on the eight critical elements of an effective aviation safety oversight authority specified in ICAO Document 9734, Safety Oversight Manual.

Those eight critical elements are primary aviation legislation; specific operating regulations; state civil aviation system and safety oversight functions; technical personnel qualification and training; technical guidance, tools and the provision of safety critical information; licensing, certification, authorisation and approval obligations; surveillance obligations; and resolution of safety concerns.

 

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