US authority downgrades Thai aviation, cites 3 problems

US authority downgrades Thai aviation, cites 3 problems
PHOTO: AFP

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded Thai aviation after discovering three major problems.

An FAA team concluded its initial testing of air safety in Thailand and found three areas needed to be fixed within 65 days.

Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong said the three problems were lack of an aviation inspector and lack of qualified staff for aircraft being operated in the country, an incomplete aviation manual, which might be due to lack of staff, and improper testing, which was also possibly due to inadequate staffing.

Prajin said the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) would fix all the problems. The Cabinet earlier approved a plan to hire more experts as well as to bring in foreigners to help ease such problems.

An FAA team arrived in Bangkok on Monday to investigate aviation safety after the International Civil Aviation Organisation raised a "red flag" for Thailand.

Aside from testing the aviation agency, the team of four experts also examined national carrier Thai Airways International, and Bangkok Airways, one of the largest private airlines.

"FAA will then conclude official testing within 30 days and will inform the Thai aviation authority. We have another 65 days to fix all the problems," Prajin said.

According to Prajin, Thailand was downgraded to second tier, which will affect flights to the US. However, the ministry will monitor the impact of the move.

The ministry is also ready to talk and sort out the issues with foreign aviation authorities.

Prajin added that the authorities would not be able to solve all the aviation problems this year because of a shortage of experts. However, a revised safety manual has already been completed.

The minister also said that foreign airlines operating in and out Thailand would move to talks with third countries over impact if received reaction from downgrading Thai aviation.

The Thai tourism industry is set to enter the peak season running from October until February.

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