ICAO Issues Red Flag to Thailand in Response to Aviation Safety Concerns
In the wake of significant safety concerns discovered in Thailand's aviation industry, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued a red flag to the country, according to CNN.
The United Nations agency issued Thailand a warning and 90 days to address concerns uncovered during an audit earlier this year. The red flag indicates that the country's regulators failed to implement adequate solutions over that time.
According to the ICAO's online safety audit information, "a significant safety concern does not necessarily indicate a particular safety deficiency in the air navigation service providers, airlines (air operators), aircraft or aerodrome; but, rather, indicates that the State is not providing sufficient safety oversight to ensure the effective implementation of applicable ICAO Standards."
The country's leading airline, Thai Airways issued a statement in response to the red flag reassuring travelers that safety is a top priority.
ICAO spokesman Philbin Anthony told CNN that Thailand's deputy prime minister indicated the country is taking the red flag seriously and is willing to work with the organization to resolve the concerns.
However the concern for Thailand's aviation sector moving forward is the response they will receive from other countries. This past March, when Thailand received the initial warning from the ICAO, multiple countries in the region went so far to issue a ban on new flights from Thailand and placed the country's aircraft under increased scrutiny.
With a red flag on its record, the potential repercussions could be even more debilitating.
"If you look at all the other countries that have red flags, Thailand is the only one other than Nepal in this region, and there will be concerns raised about this," aviation specialist Alan Polivnick told CNN. "Whether this will prompt them to call for further inspections or create further restrictions on Thai airlines remains to be seen, but there's nothing to stop them from doing that. It's within each country's power to do that."
In addition to Thailand, Angola, Botswana, Djibouti, Eritrea, Georgia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malawi, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Uruguay were each issued a red flag from the ICAO.
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