FAA downgrades Thailand over aviation safety concerns

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FAA downgrades Thailand over aviation safety concerns Wikipedia

The decision means Thai airlines will be banned from opening new routes to the United States or expanding existing ones

Fliers heading to Thailand may have fresh cause for concern after the country's airlines were hit with restrictions by U.S. aviation authorities.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that it was downgrading Thailand's aviation safety rating to Category 2 because the country did not comply with international standards.

The decision means Thai airlines will be banned from opening new routes to the United States or expanding existing ones, said CNN.

While none currently operate direct routes to the U.S., the FAA's downgrades are often matched by other global aviation authorities, raising the prospect of restrictions on routes to Europe or East Asia.

Shares in several Thai airlines fell following the news.

In stripping it of the Category 1 rating it received in 1997, the FAA said Thailand's civil aviation authority failed to meet "minimum international standards."

Category 1 means that the country complies with International Civil Aviation Organization standards.

The ICAO, a United Nations agency, "red flagged" Thailand in June over safety concerns, listing it alongside Angola, Botswana, Djibouti, Eritrea, Georgia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malawi, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Uruguay.

The ICAO's concerns have previously led to restrictions on new airline routes linking Thailand with China, South Korea and Japan.

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