December 20, 2017 / 5:53 AM / 5 months ago

Thailand seeks air safety rating upgrade by U.S. aviation body

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand aims to get its air safety rating upgraded by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by March, the country’s transport minister said on Wednesday, after the FAA downgraded the rating in December 2015.

Don Muang International Airport is seen through the window of an aircraft in Bangkok, Thailand, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) was downgraded to Category 2 from 1 because it fell short of the FAA’s standards.

“We aim to be restored back to Category 1 by March,” Transport Minister Arkom Termpittayapaisith told reporters.

Arkom’s comment came three months after the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) removed a red flag against Thailand over safety concerns in October.

He said Thailand will speed up its inspection of pilot qualifications and aim to have more aviation personnel and qualified pilots to be considered for the safety ratings upgrade.

Bangkok is a regional airline hub and Thailand targeted a record 33 million to 34 million tourist arrivals this year.

Reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat

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