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 News > Jet Asia Airways resolute about clearing image
Jet Asia Airways (JAA), one of the Thai airlines hit by the government's inattention to the global aviation regulatory regime, is taking a bold step to ensure its safety practices meet world standards. JAA is turning to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to have its entire safety apparatus audited and certified under stringent IOSA standards.

In the process, the charter-focused carrier will also seek to join the world's leading airlines by becoming a member of IATA, which has some 250 members comprising 84% of global air traffic, JAA managing director Chairat Sangchan told the Bangkok Post.

IOSA, which stands for IATA Operational Safety Audit, is the first global standard for safety auditing that is in compliance with more than 900 global standards on operational safety. It was developed in cooperation with world-leading regulatory bodies such as the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the US Federal Aviation Administration and Europe's Joint Aviation Authority.

The action being taken by JAA is in response to the ICAO's ongoing designation of Thailand's Civil Aviation Department as having "significant safety concerns" (SSCs) after an audit earlier this year resulted in an appalling score.

Because of that, Thai-registered airlines have come under close scrutiny by some countries, notably Japan, South Korea and China. Japan and South Korea have moved forcefully by restricting new charter and scheduled flights by Thai carriers since the ICAO triggered the alarm, while China has imposed some restrictions but in a more discreet manner.

JAA is one of six Thai-registered airlines hit hard by the decisions taken by Tokyo and Seoul since the carrier's focus is on those countries. By having itself audited and certified, JAA hopes to clear an unsubstantiated image of negative safety standards. Mr Chairat said IATA's IOSA audit would likely be completed this year.

Meanwhile, JAA is recruiting a former ICAO official to advise the airline on safety standards and prepare for recertification of air operator certificates (AOCs) by Cvivil Aviation Department next month.

The recertification of permits is part of the department's bid to clear itself from stigma of SScs.

Mr. Chairat defended the safety record of JAA, which he said had been best by any major accident since it took to the skies in 2011. The Carrier's regulatory approval to operates scheduled flights to Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia remains intact, meaning JAA can continue to operate regular services to those countries.

Each week, JAA operates four scheduled flights a week from Bangkok to Tokyo, two to Jeddah and Three to Jakarta.

JAA last obtained a new AOC from Civil Aviation Department last month and successfully passed a safety test by the department at the request of the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. In another development, JAA last week secured a renewal of its licence to operate charter flights to China, a market that contributes 80% of JAA's revenue.

JAA operates regular charter flights to three secondary destinations - Tianjin, Shenyang, and Zhengzhou. Contrary to reports thai China was restricting Thai flights to its airports, Mr. Chairat stressed the airline had received assurance from Chinese regulators that they had "no issue" with JAA regarding SSCs.

While executives of affected Thai airlines blame the Civil Aviation Department for the fiasco they are made to bear, JAA's managing director has opted not to point fingers even though JAA has been seriously affected by the action taken by Japan and South Korea.

JAA lost "million of US dollar in accommodating and refunding some 5,000 passengers booked on charter flights to Japan and South Korea during the recent
Songkran holidays after the two countries slapped the ban on new charter flights.

"We should not waste time by resorting to a blame game now, but rather we all should work together to overcome the challenges," Mr Chairat said.

" It's a tough pill to swallow, but the silver lining from this is the department and Thai airlines will come out stronger."

The current uncertainty triggered by the ICAO issue is dampening JAA's 2015 business plan, which includes doubling its fleet of Boeing 767 series wide-body jets to 10 and expanding it's Network.

Original from Bangkok Post, http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/tourism/543491/jet-asia-airways-resolute-about-clearing-image