Thai airways reacts to safety concerns emanating from international audit
Thai Airways has reacted to the international audit findings from the International Civil Aviation Organisation in a bid to allay fears over lax aviation safety procedures in the South East Asian country.
China has joined South Korea and Japan in stopping Thailand-based airlines from flying charters in recent weeks and new routes because of safety concerns highlighted by an international audit, Thai officials announced.
The move will come as a blow to Thai air carriers that have just begun to recover after a poor 2014 when political protests slashed the number of tourists visiting the country.
The halt is disrupting the peak travel season around the Thai New Year holiday in April. About 100 charter flights to Japan alone have been cancelled and some 30,000 tickets either refunded or modified, Somchai Piputwat, the Director General of Thailand's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), told reporters.
Charamporn Jotikasthira, Thai Airways International President, said in a statement: “THAI places safety first before finances. No matter the outcome of the ICAO USOAP audits on Thai Department of Civil Aviation (Thai DCA), Thai Airways International (THAI) is committed to delivering the highest safety practices for the flying public. We have been and continue to follow above and beyond the requisite compliance requirements of air safety standards and regulations worldwide.
“Regarding the ICAO USOAP findings, while the Thai DCA passed the last ICAO USOAP audit in 2005 with no Significant Safety Concerns (SSC) being issued, the recent audit resulted in findings that attributed to ICAO issuing an SCC. Though the findings are most undesirable, it can be viewed as a positive potential for Thailand in that the USOAP audit results will trigger a leap in improvements in aviation safety monitoring standards. The Royal Thai government is committed to bringing Thai DCA abreast to meet all requirements of aviation industry.
“THAI continuously reviews and implements safety technologies to operate our flights safely and efficiently, meeting required standards as well as exceeding standards that are required by external authorities. Regarding the additional safety checks, throughout the past around the world, aviation authorities have been conducting regular safety checks on all airlines, including THAI as they normally do with all carriers operating to their airports.”
Flights that are currently operating will not be affected but these Thai carriers are expected to have to undergo increased inspections by regulators from other countries as a result. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has instructed the country's foreign minister to discuss the ban with Japan, and has ordered an urgent overhaul of the civil aviation department.
The ban comes at a particularly difficult time for the Thai aviation sector, which has already been struggling with lower tourist numbers, following political protests in the country last year.
For more information, and to view the Thai Airways statement in full, please visit: http://www.prthaiairways.com/news/node/940.html
EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”