FRIDAY, April 19, 2024

Suriya confident CAAT will win back FAA’s top aviation safety standard this year

Suriya confident CAAT will win back FAA’s top aviation safety standard this year

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) will win back safety endorsement of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this year, Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit said on Thursday.

Suriya said the CAAT was now ready for the FAA to check its oversight system and whether it was compliant with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The CAAT would coordinate with the FAA to check the oversight system of Thailand within this year so that airlines from the kingdom could resume flights to the United States, Suriya said.

In 2015, the FAA reduced CAAT’s safety rating from FAA’s Category 1 (CAT1) to Category 2 on grounds that the CAAT did not address 36 flaws based on the ICAO standards.

Apart from having the CAAT meet the FAA’s CAT1 safety standard, Suriya said he had also instructed Airports of Thailand Plc, the Department of Airport, the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand and the CAAT to integrate efforts to increase the standing of Thailand’s aviation industry so that the kingdom could reach its goal of becoming an aviation hub in the region.

Suriya said the AOT and the CAAT would speed up operations to increase the capacities of airports and the master plan for Suvarnabhumi Airport would be revised so that the airport could cope with some 80 million passengers a year within the next few years and 150 million in the long term.

The two agencies would have to work out how to draft tangible plans for building two more airports in the North and in the South, Suriya added.

He said the CAAT would also have to plan air traffic and flight slots to make them enough to cope with the rising number of flights.

Meanwhile, CAAT director-general Suttipong Kongpool said the authority had resolved key concerns on safety raised by the FAA. He said he was confident the CAAT could pass the FAA’s safety assessment to win back the CAT1 standard within this year.

Suttipong added the CAAT was now progressing well in addressing other less serious issues.

“We’re confident we can receive the reassessment by the FAA this year and our level will be moved up from CAT2 to CAT1,” Suttipong said.

Once the CAAT is elevated to CAT1, airlines registered in Thailand would be able to resume flights to the US, he added.