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Thailand Aviation Safety Rating Downgraded

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that the Kingdom of Thailand does not follow International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety standards. It has lost its Category 1 International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating and downgraded to Category 2 rating, based on a reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority.

A Category 1 International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO safety standards.

It is a prerequisite for air carriers to set up new service to the United States and to codeshare with U.S. airlines on its flights.

To keep a Category 1 rating, a country must adhere to safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

As the FAA explains: “A Category 2  rating means that the country either does not have the laws or regulations it needs to oversee air carriers in keeping with minimum international standards, or its national civil aviation authority is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures.”

The downgrade to Category 2 IASA rating will allow Thailand’s carriers to continue existing service to the United States, but they will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States.

Thailand was initially rated Category 2 in 1996, but received an upgrade to Category 1 rating in 1997 after a review of its civil aviation authority. Reassessments of Thailand’s aviation authority in 2001 and 2008 continued the Category 1 rating. However, a recent reassessment, in July 2015, found that Thailand no longer met international standards.

“Today’s announcement follows ongoing discussions with the government of Thailand which concluded on October 28,” the FAA states. “U.S. and Thai aviation officials have a long-standing cooperative relationship and both our countries work continuously to meet the challenge of ensuring aviation safety.”

Under the FAA’s IASA program, the agency assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, now fly to the United States, or have code sharing agreements with U.S. partner airlines.

Decisions to downgrade a country, based on inadequacies identified during IASA assessments can be reversed when the nation’s civil aviation authority makes necessary improvements. For example, India was previously downgraded from a Category 1 to a Category 2 carrier in 2014, and received a re-classification to Category 1 this April.

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