PHUKET AIR CRASH INVESTIGATION
The Civil Aviation Department has ordered One-Two-Go airlines to halt operations for 30 days due to substandard operations and revoked or suspended the flying licences of nine of its pilots.
Chaisak Angsuwan, director-general of the department, said suspension of the airline's Air Operator Certificate was effective from today. The department had found shortcomings in the airline's aviation operations, flight schedules and maintenance, along with a lack of quality assurance. The low-cost airline had violated aviation safety regulations and lacked proper airline management.
The flying licences of seven of the airline's foreign pilots were revoked, six Indonesians and a Venezuelan, and the licences of two Thai pilots suspended. The department found the pilots on the airline's MD80 series aircraft had submitted documents misstating their level of expertise. The airline and its pilots were liable to criminal penalties and the department would file charges against them in two weeks, said Mr Chaisak. The announcement follows the department's investigation into the crash of flight OG269, an MD-82, at Phuket International Airport on Sept 16 last year, killing 89 people and injuring 41. The airline was required to correct the flaws in its operations during the suspension period, or the department could either extend the suspension or terminate the airline's certificate. One-Two-Go was ordered to correct its flight schedules, aircraft maintenance and quality assurance system. Mr Chaisak said One-Two-Go's parent airline, Orient Thai, was also warned it must change its flight schedules to allow its pilots enough rest time, as required by aviation safety regulations. Transport Minister Santi Promphat said other airlines would face similar punishment if they were found to have committed the same offences. Airlines should be more careful in examining the qualifications of their staff, especially their pilots, said Mr Santi. Udom Tantiprasongchai, the president of One-Two-Go Airlines, said the nine pilots were sacked on July 8. He had not previously known about the pilots' incorrect documents. He believed the airline could make all the changes required within the 30 days.