City Airways Boeing 737
Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has canceled Thai airport landing rights for Don Mueang-based low-cost carrier (LCC) City Airways. DCA has also asked the Civil Aviation Department in Hong Kong to withdraw rights for the airline at Hong Kong International Airport.
The move comes following claims the carrier had not been following maintenance procedures on its 20-year old Boeing 737-400 and -800 aircraft.
“We were concerned about passenger safety following a report that revealed that City Airways has not been following proper procedures,” said Santi Pawai, director, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Phuket. The irregularities allegedly include not presenting the correct certification and paperwork for its aircraft prior to departure.
City Airways offers routes from Don Mueang and Phuket to Hong Kong, and also to tier-two cities Nanjing and Nanchang on the China mainland. It has also flagged Thailand tourist destination Koh Samui as its next target for route expansion.
To date, there is no ban in place on China destinations from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). However, in October 2013, Nanjing Lukou International Airport denied a City Airways pilot permission to fly from its facilities due to an alleged paperwork irregularity.
The carrier is one of a crop of new, regional carriers that have set up operations out of Don Mueang, now Bangkok’s de facto LCC hub. Launched in 2012 with a single aircraft running a Bangkok-Hong Kong route, it has expanded to five current destinations.
However, as a result of the loss of landing rights, the carrier has suspended operations from its Thai bases, and the denial of access to its major hubs has seen aircraft immobilized at Phuket and Don Mueang.