News

Thai airlines spared from EU ban… for now

11 Dec 2015 by Clement Huang
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has confirmed that it will not ban Thai carriers from flying into EU airspace, at least for the time being. Following a safety audit, the agency concluded that it would continue to closely monitor the situation in Thailand, while also assisting the country in upgrading its air safety standards. However, the European Commission (EC) has warned that it may consider listing individual airlines on the EU blacklist, should improvements not be made in the future. “No air carriers from Thailand were added to the Air Safety List at this time,” said the EC in a statement. “The EC and EASA will however closely monitor future developments and, if the protection of air passengers against safety risks so requires, the Commission could then propose to include one or more air carriers from Thailand in the Air Safety List." The news represents a reprieve for Thailand’s aviation industry, which had its International Aviation Assessment status downgraded by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from Category 1 to Category 2 earlier this month (see here). The rating means that while Thai carriers would still be allowed to continue operating existing services to the US, they would not be able to expand or establish new routes to the country. Whilst the FAA’s decision led to plenty of public scrutiny into Thailand’s aviation industry, the impact of the status downgrade was minimal given that no Thai-based carrier currently operates flights to the US. Though Thai Airways did serve flights to North America in the past, it was forced to terminate them due to intense competition and less than impressive loads. The Star Alliance member finally retreated from the market altogether when it cancelled flights to Los Angeles on October 25. However, a EU ban would have hurt the airline gravely, given that it maintains a significant presence in Europe. In particular, the London service is popular, with Thai Airways due to deploy the A380 on this route next summer. For more information, visit easa.europa.eueuropa.eu and thaiairways.com Clement Huang
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