As part of its effort to meet international safety standards, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has embarked on a Safety Master Plan (SMP) to review and revise regulations and procedures. According to the director general of CAAT, Chula Sukmanop, the authority will finish its work by 2022.
Chula said the new SMP will feature key performance indexes that Thai-registered airlines and all local aviation authorities will have to meet.
“When implemented, the authorities concerned would be compelled to inform CAAT of any oversight they make or face the consequences,” Chula pointed out.
To assist Thai civil aviation in moving forward the government has appointed the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s technical division—CAA International (CCAI)—to review, draft, and implement new International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) compliant aviation regulations and procedures.
Under the second phase of the exercise, which has just commenced, CAAI will review all of CAAT’s regulations against ICAO’s. It also must review its practices and compliance with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards.
CAAI will redraft CAAT’s regulations to align with the local aviation industry’s requirements and operations and assist in the development and preparation of the procedures manuals. It will also develop and prepare checklists for the respective sectors of the industry for implementation and enforcement of regulations and procedures.
CAAI started working with CAAT on the first phase in 2016.
Chula acknowledged that CAAT’s present policies were outdated and needed review and changes to meet international standards and requirements. ICAO continues to watch the Thai regulatory body closely to eliminate the risk of oversights and accidents.
In October 2015 ICAO issued a warning to Thailand after it found safety concerns and organizational issues in the local industry. The international body then barred Thai carriers from introducing new routes.
Two months later the Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Thailand to Category 2 with a stern warning that the country had fallen short in terms of pilot qualifications. In 2017 ICAO lifted sanctions after the agency carried out an audit.
According to ICAO’s latest audit list, Thailand ranks below the global average in all eight effective implementation categories. Thailand counts 27 airlines operating under its authority, including 13 full-service and low-cost carriers and 10 charter outfits. Four freight companies operate in the country.
In a separate development, CAAT plans to introduce a new law that will permit only Thai funds to hold shares in local carriers. Fund managers must also be Thai. Chula said the CAAT will submit the proposal to the Cabinet for approval.