The United States has downgraded the safety rating of Thailand‘s aviation industry in a move that could hamper operations of Thai airlines around the world.

Thai Airways.

Thai Airways. Image by Curimedia / CC BY 2.0

The Federal Aviation Administration announcement comes after the International Civil Aviation Organisation, a United Nations body which regulates international aviation standards, flagged significant concerns about Thailand’s aviation safety in March.

The FAA lowered Thailand’s rating to category two, which means its civil aviation authority is deficient in one or more critical areas or that the country lacks laws and regulations needed to oversee airlines in line with international standards.

“Thailand does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation safety standards,” the FAA statement said.

It audited Thailand’s civil aviation authority in July in its role in ensuring airlines that fly to the United States meet international standards.

Thai airlines can continue existing services to the United States, but will not be allowed to establish new services.

Thailand is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and its tourism industry accounts for about 7% of the country’s economy.

Regulators in other countries are likely to be influenced by the FAA announcement, which could lead to measures against national flag carrier Thai Airways and other airlines.

Thailand’s military government vowed to overhaul its civil aviation authority following the ICAO warning in March.

(Press Association)