Bangkok Airways (PG, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) has become the first Thai commercial carrier to complete its AOC recertification according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand's (CAAT) revised, ICAO-compliant standards.

The CAAT said in a press release Monday, February 27, that it is conducting the exercise for all Thai commercial carriers with CAA International (CAAi), part of the International Directorate of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA), providing assistance.

“Bangkok Airways is the first out of nine airlines that are expected to be granted AOCs as they are in the initial group," Dr Chula Sukmanop, Director General of the CAAT, said.

As previously reported, aside from Bangkok Airways, the first group also includes Thai Airways International, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Nok Air, NokScoot, K-Mile Asia, Thai Smile, and Orient Thai Airlines.

"The remaining eight are still in the process because each airline’s inspection period depends on the complexity of the organization, the size of aircraft fleet, and the company’s operation complication. However, we look forward to issuing the AOC to the other eight airlines of the first group by June 2017,” he added.

The CAAT expects to undergo an ICAO audit in 2017 to address shortcomings identified during its 2015 Significant Safety Concern (SSC) finding.

According to Sukmankop, if any of the aforementioned carriers fail to pass the CAAT’s assessments in June, they will be required to suspend operations until they do comply or until Thailand's SSC is removed.

For its part, with its renewed AOC in hand, Bangkok Airways can now focus on its 2017 business expansion and development plan, announced earlier this week at a news conference.

Bangkok Airways currently operates thirteen A319-100s, ten A320-200s, five ATR72-500s, and seven ATR72-600s with a further two ATR72-600s and three A319s due this year.

While it currently offers scheduled passenger flights throughout Thailand as well as to Malaysia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Laos, the Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and China from its Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai hubs, this year Bangkok Airways intends to launch new non-stop services to what it termed "high potential destinations" such as Chiang Mai–Vientiane (Lao PDR), Chiang Mai–Bagan/Nyaung-u (Myanmar), Bangkok–Nakhon Ratchasima (Thailand), and Bangkok-Phu Quoc (Vietnam). Their launch, however, is contingent on the relevant local authorities signing off.

Moreover, Bangkok Airways' president, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, said the carrier will also increase the number of its codeshare partners. To date, the airline has agreements with twenty-two airlines from around the world with another four Asian carriers expected to sign on this year alone.