FAA has problems Thailand’s below average scores, but not ICAO–WHAT’S UP?

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FAA has 26 issues with Thai CAAT

ICAO lifted its Red Flag

Triple Audits really needed?


Civil aviation authorities are “audited” by EASA, FAA and ICAO. Ostensibly all use the same basic standards—the ICAO USOAP and yet, there are frequent variances among these judgments.

A prime example of these inconsistent assessments is demonstrated by recent actions with regard to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. Here is the recent trail of audits:



ICAO removes Thailand’s Red Flag two years after a finding of deficiency ISO certifies ICAO’s USOAP


What is MOST confusing is that at the time of CAAT’s elevation, the above chart shows that the Thai authority was well below the global USOAP standards on seven of eight criteria; the one exception was “airworthiness.”

Now the FAA team, using the same standards, has made VERY DIFFERENT findings.

FAA review of Thailand safety finds 26 defects

[the two teams after FAA recent audit of CAAT]

“Thailand’s aviation authorities must address more oversight concerns before the FAA will agree to restore the country’s safety rating.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said the FAA has identified 26 defects that must be resolved for the US agency to upgrade Thailand’s safety rating to Category 1.

The upgrade is required for Thai carriers to begin flights to the US or codeshare with US airlines.

According to a CAAT statement, the FAA sent an audit team to Thailand from Feb. 11-15. The team checked CAAT oversight and visited an airline to assess flight operations and maintenance, the CAAT said.

The FAA assigns safety ratings to countries under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program and bases the ratings on adherence to ICAO standards.

Some of the defects found by the FAA were already in the process of being addressed, the CAAT said. The official examination results will be sent to Thai authorities, and another FAA inspection will be requested when all the defects have been fixed.

ICAO issued a “red flag” against Thailand’s aviation oversight in 2015, and the FAA followed by downgrading Thailand to Category 2 under the IASA program. ICAO removed Thailand’s red flag designation in October 2017.


The Thai PBS news saw the FAA report through a different lens:

 “Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand director Mr. Chula Sukmanop said that some of the 26 flaws recently identified were already known and were in the process of being rectified. These include the number of personnel assigned to aviation safety, which must be adjusted to conform to the required aviation standard.

He said that the US’s FAA would submit its official inspection report to the CAAT within 60 days through the US embassy in Bangkok. Following that, the CAAT will make rectifications as recommended before asking the FAA for re-inspection.

If Thailand passes the FAA’s standard checks, the country will be upgraded to Category One status, which means that Thai airlines could start new routes in the US as well as in other countries which follow the FAA’s aviation standard assessments, such as South Korea.

Thailand was downgraded into Category Two in 2015 by the FAA and, in the same year, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) imposed a red flag over safety concerns relating to Thai aviation standards.  Two years later, the red flag was lifted after the ICAO was satisfied with the improvements made.”

The bolded portion of the article seems to fail to recognize the impact of 26 findings of deficiencies by suggesting that the “rectification” is an easy, quick exercise. It’s not.

The confusion may be attributable to the ICAO determination that CAAT, though well below the USOAP levels in seven of eight critical determinations.






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