Tailspin for Thailand's Airline Sector
Thailand's airline sector is reeling after restrictions on new scheduled and charter flights to Japan and Korea.
In the latest development the Bangkok Post has reported that Singapore will start conducting inspections on Thai-registered carriers and Mainland China is implementing a ban on new services.
At the root of the issue is mounting international concern over safety standards of Thailand's Department of Civil Aviation.
There is speculation that the US Civil Aviation Authority and the EU may place bans on Thai carriers in those jurisdictions.
In the past both Indonesia and the Philippines were blacklisted over similar issues.
Two upstart airlines have been caught up in the crossfire, with Thai AirAsia X now sidelined with their planned Bangkok to Sapporo service and the NokScoot joint venture transferring charter passengers to another airline.
Making global headlines the past few days was a Orient Thai flight to China which suffered an engine failure and was forced to make an emergency landing on the Mainland.
While the country's tourism sector continues to struggle with recovery, the current situation is expected to stem the flow of Thai's visiting the ever increasingly popular destinations of Japan and Korea.
To make matters worse Thai Airways International is facing a financial crisis which is resulting in cuts of a number of international routes.
It's hard to find a silver lining in all this, especially with a large number of Thai's now displaced on upcoming Songkran holiday plans to North Asia.
Perhaps it's time to reactivate the term 'staycation.'