The US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reduced Thailand's air safety rating to a lower grade as the country failed to meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.
Thailand's Department of Civil Aviation's rating was degraded to Category 2 from Category 1 based on a reassessment conducted in July this year.
A Category 2 International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating is given to those countries which either lack laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or its civil aviation authority - a body equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters.
This rating will also be given to countries deficient in technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures.
With a Category 2 rating, Thailand's carriers can continue existing service to the US. However, they will not be allowed to establish new service to the US.
As part of the IASA programme, FAA evaluates the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly or currently conduct operations in the US, or participate in code sharing arrangements with US partner airlines in order to ensure that foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards.
In order to maintain a Category 1 rating, a country must comply with the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations' technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practises for aircraft operations and maintenance.