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CIVIL Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has stepped up its surveillance and ramp inspections of Thai carriers' aircraft operations in Singapore on safety concerns raised by an international aviation watchdog.
"With the outcome of the recent ICAO safety oversight audit on Thailand, CAAS has stepped up its surveillance and ramp inspections of Thai carriers' aircraft operations in Singapore. Thus far, we have not imposed any restrictions on Thai carriers,'' CAAS said.
A review by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations body, raised questions about Thailand's air-safety procedures, prompting Japan and South Korea to block new flights from Thai-registered airlines.
The Telegraph reported that the move forced budget carriers likeThai AirAsia X, NokScoot and Asia Atlantic Airlines to cancel extra flights that they had been planning. Thai Airways, the national carrier, was also affected, having to cancel "about five" new charter flights that were due to run in April.
CAAS said it has in place a Foreign Operators Surveillance Programme (FOSP). Foreign carriers are required to have an operations permit from CAAS to operate in Singapore.
CAAS evaluates an application for an operations permit using a risk-based methodology, taking into consideration factors such as the safety oversight capability of the State of Operator (which grants an Air Operator Certificate to the carrier) and/or the State of Registry (where the aircraft is registered), the operational capability of the carrier, and the safety records of the aircraft and aircraft type to be deployed for the operations.
"In assessing a foreign carrier's operations, CAAS takes into consideration safety information from other aviation authorities including the outcomes of the inspections/audits they conduct,'' CAAS said.
CAAS said it also conducts periodic ramp inspections on the foreign carrier's aircraft when they are in Singapore, the frequency of which is dependent on CAAS' assessment of the carrier.
"Any major deficiencies found in the ramp inspections have to be addressed by the carrier for it to continue operations in Singapore,'' it said.
It added that it will closely monitor developments and consider further measures, as necessary, to ensure that safety is not compromised.
ICAO conducted a safety oversight audit in Thailand between Jan 19 and 30, 2015.
"The audit revealed some safety concerns, primarily relating to air operator certification procedures," Anthony Philbin, a spokesman for Montreal-based ICAO, told Bloomberg on Friday by e- mail. "Thailand officially provided ICAO with the details of its corrective actions and mitigation measures on March 2, 2015, and we continue to work with its civil aviation authority on resolving the issues in question."
According to Bangkok Post, the Thai transport minister has called an urgent meeting with state authorities after the ICAO rejected a plan designed to address its concerns. The plan had suggested a two-year time frame to make improvements but the ICAO has reportedly demanded that changes be made within nine months.