Safety already top priority for Thai airlines

Thai airlines say they have enhanced safety procedures ahead of the release of a new Asia-Pacific aviation and safety manual by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) this quarter.

Thai Airways International, Thai AirAsia and Nok Air said they had already made safety the top priority for daily operations.

The Asia-Pacific manual is the second regional safety guideline to be released by ICAO so far this year.

The three airlines said they were not worried about ICAO's global or regional standard guidance as they were confident with their safety measures, despite Southeast Asian carriers drawing suspicions of low safety standards after tragedies involving airlines based in Malaysia last year.

Charamporn Jotikasthira, president of THAI, said he believed the airline would be operated safely whether receiving advice from ICAO or not.

"We conduct safety procedures continuously ourselves without any suggestions from anyone," he said, adding that there was still no report on safety specifically for THAI.

According to Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive officer of Thai AirAsia, ICAO has not yet released any official study or suggestion regarding the safety of airlines and aviation bodies in Thailand. Should that occur, it would be the responsibility of the Department of Civil Aviation to respond to and work with the international body.

"I cannot make any comment at the moment because there is no report coming out of ICAO, so there still nothing to worry about," he said.

Patee Sarasin, CEO of Nok Air, said it had vowed to ensure safety and security as top concerns in a bid to prevent further incidents, after the rear door of a Bombardier aircraft at Nan Nakhon Airport would not close on February 18.

The budget airline is set to run intensive training for all staff involved with this aircraft - pilots, co-pilots, aircrew and ground service personnel - on how to handle the doors on the Bombardier.

According to ICAO, it has kept a close eye on aviation safety in the Asia-Pacific as this region has one of the fastest air-traffic growth rates in the world, which can affect safety-oversight systems. It wants the aviation sector to enhance safety systems through capacity building, which is an important element to enhance safety-oversight capabilities.

Between 2008 and 2012, 27 per cent of Asia-Pacific aviation accidents involved deficiencies in safety management, while 33 per cent involved deficiencies in regulatory oversight.

ICAO's first safety manual for the Asia-Pacific region was released in 2013 based on the analysis and compilation of data provided by the organisation, states, and partners including the International Air Transport Association and Boeing.

The second edition will address both reactive and proactive information as well as commenting on the development of predictive information for use in future reports.