Nok Air plane at Don Muang

The Thai transport minister has told airlines who have frequently delayed flights to improve their performance. The minister asked the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) to investigate  airlines with disrupted flight schedules.

The CAAT chief stated that troubled Nok Air was among the worst offenders and the agency had not decided whether to suspend  Nok Air flight operations.

He has decided to wait in order to talk to its executives this week to discover the reasons for the persistent problems.

In February, the airline suffered from a severe shortage of pilots which led to a pilot strike. Allegedly, pilots have been made to exceed standard flying hours.

It would appear that the shortage reoccured in September so further discussions with the airline are needed before a course of action can be decided upon.

Senior management of Nok Air have been unavailable for comment.

The CAAT head stated that planes must always be ready for service and airlines have a duty to provide assistance to passengers should delays arise. All airlines need to ensure passengers are on time and this is only possible if they have adequate maintenance programmes in place to avoid technical problems.

Nok Air is also among Thai-registered airlines which are required to go through the re-inspection of their Air Operator Certificates (AOCs), after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in June last year produced a report that showed significant safety concerns.

Taking off from Phuket

The minister added that authorities started the re-issuing process of AOCs for 25 airlines last month and  reported progress to the ICAO during a recent conference at its headquarters in  Montreal .

The ICAO hierarchy were satisfied with the solutions put forward. One was to split the now-defunct Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) into the CAAT and Department of Airports after the ICAO found a conflict of interest in the DCA’s role as supervisor and a service provider.

Under the new set-up, the CAAT would take on a supervisory role.

As for the certificates, the CAAT chief expected new AOCs to be granted to the first group of seven or eight airlines between January and February.

The CAAT  aims to finish 75% of the re-inspections. by March and they will then instruct the ICAO to carry out new airline inspections.


(With thanks to the Bangkok Post)



By Juninho