Gov’t Not Following Suit to Ban Thai Airlines

Cambodia’s aviation authority said Thursday that it planned to give Thailand two weeks to address safety concerns raised by an international audit before following China, Japan and South Korea in placing restrictions on Thai-based airlines flying into the country.

An audit carried out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a U.N. agency based in Canada, found problems with the way the Thai government oversees its airlines, particularly in air operator certification procedures, according to a report published by Reuters on Monday.

The three major Asian economies have all decided to stop Thai-based airlines from flying charters and new routes to their countries due to the safety concerns, hampering expansion plans of Thai airlines, according to Reuters.

Sin Chan Serey Vutha, spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said Thursday that Cambodia would not be taking any immediate measures against Thai airlines.

“We have not put any bans or restrictions now because we want to see how well they [Thailand] respond to the concerns and give them room to improve the situation,” said Mr. Serey Vutha.

“However, if they don’t care much about responding to the concerns, we will take measures like the other countries,” he said.

Mr. Serey Vutha said Cambodia would give Thailand two weeks to rectify the situation.

“For example, we will put temporary bans or reduce the number of Thai flights from Thailand,” he said.

Anthony Philbin, a spokesman for ICAO, said in an email that the organization does not inspect the airlines or airports of member countries, but rather audits the management capabilities of state civil aviation bodies.

“Thailand officially provided ICAO with the details of its corrective actions and mitigation measures on 2 March 2015, and we continue to work with its civil aviation authority on resolving the specifics in question,” he said.

Mr. Serey Vutha said that he would soon contact his counterparts at the Thai aviation authority to request updates on their actions to address the safety concerns.

“From this week onward, we will ask Thai aviation authorities to update us with their latest information regarding its responses,” he said.

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