ICAO Removes Thailand’s Red Flag Rating After Passing New Aviation Safety Inspections

Thailand got downgraded and ‘red flagged’ two years ago by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as their aviation sector did not meet safety standards and has now been re-certified.

Just last month prior to the scheduled ICAO inspections, failed safety checks conducted by the national regulator have caused 16 airlines registered in the country to lose their Air Operator Certificate (AOC).

This week the countries media reported that Thailand has passed the re-certification and the ICAO website also indicates that the red flag has been removed from the countries listing.

We have written about the situation when it developed two years ago (see our article here) and since then there were little blurbs here and there as far as the current situation is concerned.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens now with the suspended licenses that were handed down last month. I doubt the affected airlines have gotten any better during the previous 4 weeks and it’ll show now if that action was more a superficial quick fix or a serious effort by aviation officials.

You can access a related news report by the Bangkok Post here.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has lifted the “red flag” status on Thailand, according to information on its website.

Chula Sukmanop, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, said he had been alerted to the change on the ICAO website but had yet to confirm it with the UN agency, which reportedly discussed the issue on Friday, according to Daily News Online. If the decision is confirmed, Thai airlines can seek new destinations, especially in Japan and South Korea.

The Thai aviation industry will also gain more international acceptance in terms of safety, and foreign airlines will make more stops and expand services. The ICAO conducted an audit of the CAAT from Sept 20-27. Thai aviation safety standards have been in doubt since the country was red-flagged by the the UN’s aviation watchdog in June 2015. …

Mr Chula had said his office had corrected the flaws raised by the ICAO including amending related laws and regulations and granting Recertification of Air Operator Certificates (Re-AOC) to airlines. According to Mr Chula, nine out of 21 airlines that operate international flights have been granted Re-AOC and the CAAT plans to complete the process of re-certifying the other 12 airlines by Jan 31.

At least at this point the ICAO website (see here) shows Thailand with the Red Flag removed that has previously indicated the countries low standards.

The red circle indicates where previously the red flag stood.

A Red Flag like the one that has been put in place, makes it impossible for Thai Carriers (especially charter carriers such as Thai Air Asia-X, Nok Air, Nok Scoot etc) but also Thai Airways to file new routes and expand their international network.


It’s a good thing the restriction finally got lifted so airlines can look out for new, profitable routes again which have been pretty much put on hold for all this time. That being said Thai Airways will start to fly to Vienna soon (November 16th onward) and that must have been in the works for quite some time. I wonder how they got that filed.