Ban on charter flights to Japan eases after MoU signed

Japan and Thailand have signed an agreement to allow chartered flights by Thai-registered airlines to fly into Japan from April 11 till May 31.

But the date of signing the memorandum of understanding remained confusing as the deputy permanent secretary for transport Mr Voradet Harnprasert said it was signed Friday while the Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong said it was signed on Thursday.

At the press conference televised live on Army Channel 5, ACM Prajin said Thailand’s Civil Aviation Department signed MoU with Japan Civil Aviation Bureau on Thursday.

ACM Prajin stated that CAD and JCAB yesterday entered into an agreement of which details have not been made public.

This was because JCAB needs to reveal the results of the agreement to the Japanese minister in charge for approval before moving on to the practical issues involved, he said.

Earlier he said the signing was delayed as JCAB wanted to look into details of the agreement first.

Japan decided to prohibit Thai-registered airlines from increasing flights and destinations or changing the aircraft types following a notice of safety concerns from the International Civil Aviation Organization about the DCA’s standards and capabilities in certifying operations of airlines registered in Thailand.

The restriction was intended to start this month when air travel demand rises due to extended holidays in both Thailand and Japan.

After the signing, ACM Prajin said that charter flight from Thailand will begin to fly into Japan from April 11 until May 31 under the short-term reprieve.

After this period, earnest long-term reforms will have to be initiated, he said.

With this in mind, the minister admitted that safety protocols on flights from Thailand during the next 2 month period will be have to be carried out stringently.

All carriers will be required to report physical inspection of all its aircraft to CAD so that the information can then be passed on to officials at JCAB.

Following this, all aircraft must pass preflight checks in accordance with JCAB safety standards.