Thai Airways chairman confident in standards, pilots

Thai Airways chairman confident in standards, pilots
Backhoes are brought in to Suvarnabhumi Airport as part of the effort to salvage the aircraft. Machines removed dirt from around the wheels so the Airbus A330-300 aircraft could be removed. The salvage operation was scheduled to be complete within 48 hour.

Thai Airways International chairman Ampon Kittiampon says he remains confident in the airline's safety standards, and in the capabilities of the captains of its airliners despite the accident on Sunday at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

"An investigation is under way," he said yesterday.

"We operate about 30 Airbus A330 aircraft, but the one involved in the accident was about 17 years old. Though it was the first generation of the series, the plane is in good condition and it has been used to serve regional routes no more than six hours in distance. The plane has been routinely maintained, and THAI's captains are all the best."

He added that THAI would do its best to take care of all passengers and crew, in line with international standards.

After the accident with Flight TG679, which carried 288 passengers and 14 crew members to Bangkok from Guangzhou, China, the airline has experienced a variety of criticisms. On social media, some passengers said the crew were the first to leave the plane. Ampon said it could be true that the passengers were not taken care of on a one-by-one basis. However, he promised good care for all of them, including two who remain in hospital.

All luggage retrieved after the accident could be picked up from yesterday morning.

The airline also faced criticism over the covering of the aircraft's logo after the accident, with some wondering whether the airline had tried to hide something. THAI later said in a statement that de-identification had long been a normal practice in such incidents.

Ampon also said the airline had followed international protocols in its handling of the accident.

These demand that three parties are involved in the salvage - the airline's technicians, officials from the plane manufacturer, which is Airbus in this case, and Airports of Thailand, which operates Suvarnabhumi Airport.

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