The United States Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) downgrading of Thailand’s aviation industry has dealt a heavy blow to the industry.

But the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has decided not to ban Thai airlines from flying over European skies but instead will monitor and help the country to upgrade its air safety standards.

European Commission said in a statement issued on Thursday that no Thai-registered airlines were added to its EU Air Safety List when the listing of carriers subject to operational ban in EU was updated Thursday.

Thai government and public publicly owned company Thai Airways breathed a sigh of relief after Thai Airways International (THAI) and MJets which serve European destinations were spared bans in an audit by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

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The FAA downgrading of Thailand’s aviation industry has dealt a heavy blow to the industry.

The statement said EU and EASA would closely monitor future developments and, if the protection of air passengers against safety risks so requires, the commission could then propose to include one or more airlines from Thailand in the Air Safety List.

Mr Chula Sookmanop, director-general of Airports Department and acting director of National Civil Aviation Office, attributed EASA’s sparing of ban to Europe of Thai airlines to Thailand’s determination to resolve the aviation standards problem and its cooperation with EASA to resolve the problem.

“No air carriers from Thailand were added to the Air Safety List at this time. The Commission and EASA are willing to continue to work with Thai authorities to enhance aviation safety in the country.

“The Commission and EASA will however closely monitor future developments and, if the protection of air passengers against safety risks so requires, the Commission could then propose to include one or more air carriers from Thailand in the Air Safety List,” said the press release.

The updated EU Air Safety List, to be published today in the Official Journal of the EU, is based on the unanimous opinion of the EU Air Safety Committee, which met from Nov 24-26, 2015.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told a press conference the absence of the two airlines from EASA’s ban list shows the EU’s confidence in the government’s hard work and consistent efforts to maintain aviation standards.

If its finding turns unfavourable, then the hardest hit will be the country’s, national flag carrier, Thai Airways International (THAI), which a third of its revenue is derived from routes to European destinations.

According to the FAA’s downgrading of Thailand’s aviation safety standard to Category 2 from Category 1, it stated that  the  Department of Civil Aviation lacks law or regulation needed to oversee airlines in line with international standard.

As a consequence, Thai carriers will be banned from establishing new services to the U.S. until it regains the  Category 1 status.

But Thai officials remained optimistic that the  US doiwngrade does not pose immediate business impact on the Thai aviation industry, as THAI  has halted its services to the U.S. since October.

However  it does certainly tarnished the image of the industry.The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in June this year has already red flagged Thailand for its failure to meet its standard particularly a shortage of aviation personnel and certification problems in transporting hazardous goods.

But Transport Minister Arkom Termpittayapaisith promised to speed up solving the problem from the roots in bid to remove Thailand from the ICAO’s red-flag.He said once the red-flag is removed, it is likely that Thailand will regain its Category 1 status.

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