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Sigh of relief as Thailand spared EASA blacklist

Dec 10. 2015
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By THE NATION

THAI CARRIERS have been spared from a European Union blacklist of airlines banned from flying to the 28 EU member countries, the commission announced yesterday.
The European Aviation Safety Agency yesterday updated its Air Safety List, the list of airlines subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. 
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday thanked the EU for recognising Thailand’s determination to improve its aviation safety standards, according to Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd. The PM also promised Thailand would “uproot all the old problems” so that the country’s civil aviation would completely meet the international standards, the spokesman said.
“No air carriers from Thailand were added to the Air Safety List at this time. The [European] Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency [EASA] are willing to continue to work with the Thai authorities to enhance aviation safety in the country,” the EU said. 
“The Commission and EASA will, however, closely monitor future developments and, if the protection of air passengers against safety risks so requires, the Commission could then propose to include one or more air carriers from Thailand in the Air Safety List.”
Thai Airways International president Charamporn Jotikasthira yesterday said THAI would continue flying to 11 destinations in nine European countries. The airline would also have flights to Rome next year due to more demand.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpitayapaisith said his ministry would continue to work with EASA to improve safety matters. EASA will visit Thailand again to audit and see if there is improvement six months after its last visit earlier this year.
“Several measures are planned, including recruiting foreign experts and transferring aviation officers from other organisations as well as hiring young staff,” he said.
The EU’s announcement came 10 days after the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Thailand’s safety ratings because the Kingdom’s civil-aviation body failed to tackle flaws in its commercial aviation standards.
The fact that no Thai airline appeared on the EU list will be a boon for Thai Airways International, the only major airline flying into Europe from Thailand. 
The updated EU Air Safety List, which will be published today, consists of 228 airlines registered in 20 countries.

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