Thailand Is Unable To Get Back Its Category 1 FAA Rating

Unfortunately, Thailand failed an FAA audit this month and is unable to regain its Category 1 FAA rating at this time. Thailand lost its Category 1 FAA safety rating in 2015 and is trying to get it back.

What is the FAA safety rating?

The FAA safety rating is issued as part of the agency’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. This program assesses “a country’s ability, not the ability of individual air carriers, to adhere to international aviation safety standards and recommended practices”  established by ICAO.

The safety rating is important for Thailand. After all, without a Category 1 rating, Thai airlines cannot fly to the United States or enter codeshare agreements with U.S. air carriers.

Thai Airways Boeing 747
Thai Airways used to serve destinations in the United States. Photo: Wikimedia.

Why is Thailand not able to regain its Category 1 FAA rating?

The FAA conducted an International Aviation Safety Assessment audit in Thailand from February 11th to the 15th. This audit revealed as many as 26 findings. Reportedly, Thai authorities have indicated that they are working on addressing the findings hoping that they will finally get back the rating after the next inspection.


Nonetheless, 26 is no small number, and demonstrates that Thailand still has a way to go.

Suvarnabhumi Airport
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is the busiest airport in Thailand. Photo: Wikipedia.

In 2015, an audit conducted by ICAO revealed numerous safety concerns. At this time, ICAO red-flagged Thailand. Shortly thereafter, the FAA updated Thailand’s status to Category 2 due to the same issues. Consequently, Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation split into two separate agencies forming the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand and the Department of Airports.


In 2017, ICAO removed Thailand’s red flag. The FAA, however, kept Thailand’s Category 2 status.

Which other countries have a Category 2 rating?

In addition to Thailand, there are only three countries that do not have a Category 1 rating. According to information provided by the FAA, they are Bangladesh, Curacao, and Ghana. (The list only includes countries that have provided flights to the United States or had code-share agreements with U.S. air carriers within the last four years or had “significant interaction with the FAA.”)

The FAA just granted the Category 1 rating to Vietnam earlier this month. Nonetheless, three Vietnamese airlines, Bamboo Airways, VietJet, and Vietnam Airlines, have already expressed interest in offering flights to the United States. As a matter of fact, Bamboo Airways is planning on launching flights to the United States as early as late this year or early next year.

Bamboo Airways Aircraft
Bamboo Airways will likely offer flights to the United States in the near future. Photo: Bamboo Airways.


We are not sure if Thai Airways would actually like to offer flights to the United States in the near future, or if Thailand just wants to regain the safety rating. Thai Airways has mentioned in the past that it would like to fly to the United States again.

Anyhow, it looks like Thailand has quite a bit of work to do before it will pass the FAA assessment and regain its Category 1 safety rating.

What are your thoughts on Thailand’s failed FAA safety assessment?


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l jones

It would be vert comforting to know what the 20 plus areas are and exactly what it means to safety.

Andrejs Plocins

If they fly aeroplanes the way they drive on the roads it is no wonder they have failed. In England and Wales, 6 people die on the roads EVERY day. In Thailand same population 65 die on the Roads EVERY day. Wake up Thailand. I am UK citizen and have now lived in Thailand for over 7 years.


The 65 deaths a day are only people who die at the road side….
not include in ambulance, at the hospital etc…nearly 80 per day from motorbikes & Minibus victims…..

S erwin

Can anyone give a sane reason why they do let children ride motorbikes.what does the prime minister say…and why helmets are not mandatory.who loses out by it not being so and who gains….I myself have seen to head fatalities in three years…ps people just carried on..

David Barker

The children ride because their parents let them, helmets ARE mandatory but law enforcement is sadly lacking. I have seen a policeman in full uniform, wearing a police cap not a helmet, riding his motorbike with, presumably his, kindergarten aged child sitting in front of him the wrong way ( against traffic ) down a dual carriageway to drop the child at school. There is a U turn no more than 200mtrs; max; had he been on the correct side of the dual carriageway

Claus Mertens

This airport is a mess for transits and arrivals. Inside more a duty free shopping area with endless walking distances from A to E, nice and friendly staff sending you in the wrong direction, giving wrong information, saying “don’t worry” while making you miss a connecting flight, often very long queues at immigration and security scans and annoying handling there (asking me to take off my shoes and let me walk on the dirt but not finding a carpet knife I accidentally forgot in my jacket) and much more. Beside that the chairs in Thai Airways lounges are very dirty… Read more »