Thai VietJet Air at risk of overseas service halt

VietJet Air’s Airbus A320. Thai VietJet Air hopes to receive its AOCs before Aug 31.

Thai VietJet Air (TVJA) is likely to have to suspend its international service by the end of this month.

The Thai subsidiary of Vietnam’s low-cost carrier VietJet Air has been unable to get its air operator’s certificates (AOCs) reissued under new stringent global standards in time for the Aug 31 deadline set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

But the impact may be minimal as TVJA has only one international route — Bangkok-Hai Phong — in operation, with four flights a week.

TVJA has a contingency plan — to have its parent carrier assume the services on its behalf until it gets its AOC recertified.

TVJA head of commercial Luoung Truong An said yesterday that CAT’s audit of TJVA operations is in the advanced stages and the recertification process is expected to be complete in the next two months.

TVJA is one of a few last Thai-registered airlines with international flights left to be recertified by the CAAT as part of the basic requirement set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for removing the red flag placed on Thailand aviation since 2015.

A total of eight Thai-registered carriers, which altogether carry 97% of all passengers being transported by Thai-registered airlines, have had their licences to operate commercial flights reissued so far.

But TVJA’s Thai domestic flights on three routes — Bangkok-Chiang Mai (four flights per day), Bangkok-Phuket (three per day) and Phuket-Chiang Rai (four flights per week) — are not impacted by the CAAT requisite.

Mr An acknowledged that the AOC recertification is one of the key factors complicating the airline’s expansion plan and launch timing.

However, TVJA has sought approval from Thai authorities to introduce additional domestic routes to cover key provinces such as Krabi, Surat Thani, Hat Yai, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani.

Over the next few months, TVJA hopes to get one domestic route off the ground, he said, without elaborating.

TVJA is looking to spreading its wings to Vietnam, China, India and Taiwan, from its Bangkok base at Suvarnabhumi airport.

TVJA also hopes to be able to increase its fleet, which consists of three Airbus A320s, each with 180 seats, by seven to 10 aircraft annually from next year.

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