Sebastian wrote last week (access here) that the Thai military junta would have canceled licenses of some Thai based airlines in the anticipation of ICAO inspection visit to Thailand that will take place next week.
Turns out that total of 12 airlines haven’t received new operator certificates and thus cannot fly internationally. Only two of the 12 airlines have any significant operations; Thai VietJet and Orient Thai and both are expected to have their operator certificates back next month.
Here’s an excerpt from Reuters (access the article here):
Thailand’s aviation industry has been under scrutiny after the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)downgraded the country in June 2015, giving it a red flag for missing a deadline to resolve significant safety concerns.
The government’s move comes ahead of an ICAO’s visit to Thailand next week.
“They want to see a strict measure. The government had to order CAAT to suspend operations of airlines which did not pass assessment,” government spokesman Sansern Kaewkumnerd told reporters.
Here’s an excerpt from Bangkok Post (access the article here):
The measure affected 12 airlines, although together they account for just 2% of the market, and so will have little impact on the country’s tourism-dependent economy.
And there is likely to be confusion. The airlines cited in the Section 44 order can still fly inside Thailand. The order bars them from any international flights.
After the Icao audit and inspection, the CAAT will “speed up” the process of granting the Recertification of Air Operator Certificates (Re-AOC) required by the ICAO for the airlines – by next Jan 31, said Lt Gen Sansern.
The two best-known airlines on the suspension list are veteran Orient Thai Airlines and rising budget firm Thai Vietjet Air. The two airlines were not immediately available for comment
The others are Mjets, K-Mile, Jet Asia Airways, AC Aviation, Siam Land Flying, Asia Atlantic, VIP Jets, HS Aviation, Advance Aviation and Skyview Airways.
So, all these airlines can still fly within Thailand but cannot internationally. VietJet has already taken over the flights that are usually flown by Thai VietJet. Orient Thai sometimes has flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong (seen them on the board at weird times and often canceled!).
Remember that the ICAO inspection didn’t find Thai based airlines unsafe. They just found that the government regulator that was supposed to oversee the sector was not up to the task. This has basically prevented Thai Airways reopening routes to the United States.