IATA Urges Thailand To Address Airline Safety, capacity, Cost Issues

 Tyler Pix Courtesy:www.themalaysianinsider.com
Pix Courtesy:www.themalaysianinsider.com

… Asks  Govt To Make IOSA Mandatory For Thai Registered Airlines
Director General, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Tony Tyler, has called on the government of Thailand to address urgently safety, capacity and cost issues to keep Thailand’s aviation sector competitive.
Tyler, who made the call at a Media Round Table in Bangkok, Thailand said that aviation is critical to Thailand’s economic success, adding that it is the backbone of the tourism industry and provides critical global business links and that IATA estimated that today aviation and related activities account for some 2 million Thai jobs and generate $29 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He added that by 2035, IATA could see that grow to 3.8 million jobs and $53 billion in GDP, adding that if realised, that potential 83 per cent growth would have a broad and positive impact across the Thai economy and that this would be in jeopardy unless key issues of safety, capacity and costs are addressed urgently
The IATA boss stated that the safety oversight concerns raised by both the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must be addressed and that the US FAA ranks Thailand in Category 2 of its International Aviation Safety Assessment programme.
According to him, “These assessments look at what the government is doing not the airlines. Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways are IATA members and along with Thai Lion Air and Orient Thai Airlines are on the registry of the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). This demonstrates that they are operating to the highest global standards for operational safety. ICAO and the US FAA have pointed out safety oversight concerns and divergence from global standards at the government level. Safety is aviation’s top priority. The Government of Thailand must address these concerns in support of a vibrant aviation sector that is the backbone of travel and tourism.”
IATA also directed Thailand to make IOSA a mandatory requirement for all Thai registered airlines, stressing that this would not absolve the government of its responsibility to do better in aligning its oversight programmes to global standards but that it would send a strong signal that Thailand is serious about its commitment to world-class safety.
On capacity, Tyler said that Bangkok needs a strong hub airport and that with over 50 million annual passengers, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport ranks amongst the top air hubs in the world but that it faces several issues, which must be resolved.
He called on the Thai government to adopt a strategy that would concentrate traffic at Suvarnabhumi as the Thai capital’s major airport hub and address the following:
Safety concerns about “soft spots” on the tarmac, taxiways and apron area, he said must be permanently resolved, as aircraft frequently get “stuck” in the soft surfaces that are the result of sub-standard materials.
The IATA boss added that the extra power and towing needed to maneuver through these surfaces are safety risk to ground personnel, ground vehicles and aircraft. On top of that, frequent surface repairs create congestion.
“The constant resurfacing of the tarmac, taxiways and apron area with asphalt is an unacceptable patchwork solution. We literally need a “concrete” solution.” said Tyler.
IATA also pointed out that the airport faces a capacity crunch as it handles over 52 million passengers that already exceed the terminal design capacity of 45 million while demand is growing by 10 per cent annually.
Fast tracking the Phase Two terminal expansion, Tyler would provide much needed terminal capacity, calling for third runway plans at Subarnabhumi to move forward.
According to him, “A permanent fix for the frequent tarmac, taxiway and apron closures for resurfacing will address near-term runway capacity concerns. But a runway takes a long-time to build, so it is important that that plans for the third runway continue to move forward.”
IATA called for broad stakeholder consultation in the development of a long-term master plan to guide the development of Thailand’s airport infrastructure.
Speaking on costs, IATA called on the government to focus on improving Thailand’s cost competitiveness in transport and tourism.
Thailand, he posited ranks 35th in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, behind many of its tourism competitors including Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Mainland of China, Malaysia and South Korea.
IATA said that the airline operating environment is extremely competitive ,stressing that low cost carriers account for 54 per cent of the short-haul market in Southeast Asia and that the Gulf hubs are strong and growing competitors for long-haul traffic.
“In the face of intense competition, Thailand’s aviation competitiveness is being chipped away with various new or increased taxes and charges. It is in Thailand’s long-term self-interest to review and abandon proposals that increase the cost of transportation. That includes taxes or charges.” said Tyler.
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////AIB To Send Bristow Helicopters Cockpit Image Recorder To UK
…Says Crew Declared May Day Twice

The Accident Investigation Bureau(AIB) has said that the agency will take the Cockpit Image Recorder of the Bristow Helicopters’ Sikorsky 76C++ with registration number 5N-BQJ that ditched into the Atlantic Ocean on February 3,2015 to United Kingdom for downloading.
The AIB Commissioner, Dr Felix Abali stated this while briefing aviation correspondents at the Agency’s Safety House at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos on the update of the investigation of Bristow Helicopters.
This is just as the agency stated that essential flight recorders would be flown out for downloading while TRIM actuators would be sent to the manufacturers for investigative testing.
He explained that initial field investigation was carried out by AIB and that vital components relevant to the investigation including Flight Data Recorder (FDR), Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and the Cockpit Image Recorder were retrieved for further investigation.
According to him, “The black boxes will be flown outside the country especially one of the boxes that we have is Cockpit Image Recorder and these boxes unfortunately we do not have the equipment to download them here”
Abali stated that the Cockpit Image Recorder would be taken to the United Kingdom for downloading because the equipment could not be downloading.
The manufacturer’s representatives, he hinted were still being expected as AIB was carrying out the investigation along with them.
The aircraft, he said carried nine passengers and two crew members had departed ERHA Oil Platform en route Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and that the crew declared May Day twice.
The first May Day, he disclosed was declared by the crew at the 78 nautical miles from Lagos complaining of instrument problems and that the aircraft descended from 3,000 feet to 1,500 feet.
He added that at this time the Flying Officer (FO) was the Pilot Flying (PF).
Abali stated that the Captain took over control expecting to stabilise the helicopter but that the aircraft was not responding to control inputs, adding that she declared the 2nd May Day to the Radio Operator at the offshore platform, which was relayed to the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) by two separate aircraft.
One of the aircraft, he said was followed the communication and relayed the ditching, which occurred at 10:20am at 29 Nautical Miles away from the platform.
He said that the rescued passengers and were met on arrival by AIB at the Eko Support Quay where they were transferred to Lagoon Hospital, Lagos Island, adding that toxicological tests were administered on the crew, which proved negative of any substance abuse and that one passenger was interviewed.
On the recovered aircraft, the AIB boss stated that it was recovered from the accident site on February 5, ferried onshore and transferred on a trailer to a storage warehouse.
Further investigation, he stated would focus on the aircraft controls with avionics interface and that there would be further interviews with the crew, maintenance personnel and others relevant to the investigation are ongoing.
Other areas the accident investigators will also concentrate on maintenance records including examining Technical Logs, adding that Bristow Helicopter is cooperating with AIB in this regard.