The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) is in the process of certifying two start-ups, Thai Eastar Jet (ESS, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) and Thai Summer Airways (9T, Utapao), with decisions regarding their Air Operator's Certificates (AOCs) expected in early 2020, Director General Chula Sukmanop told the Thai media.

According to the Bangkok Post, Chula underlined that the law requires new airlines to launch services within 12 months of certification. As such, both start-ups will have to commence operations by the end of 2020 or early 2021, although both will likely start earlier.

The two airlines will be the first two new carriers certified in Thailand since ICAO withdrew cautionary measures in 2017. Imposed two years earlier, the red flag was a result of serious safety deficiencies and resulted in a blanket ban on the establishment of new airlines in the country.

Thai Summer Airways is planning to initially launch as a charter specialist before transitioning to a low-cost carrier business model within a few months. It will launch with a single B737-800 based out of Utapao.

In turn, Thai Eastar Jet, a joint venture between Thai investors and South Korea's Eastar Jet (ESR, Seoul Gimpo), has already scheduled its first route, from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Kaohsiung. According to the ch-aviation schedules module, it plans to debut operations on January 20 with daily flights to the Taiwanese city operated with a B737-800. The route to Malé, initially picked as the first destination, has been dropped from the immediate plans. The carrier's first aircraft, HS-SJB (msn 36802) has operated Utapao-Bangkok Suvarnabhumi-Seoul Incheon-Utapao on test flights between December 19 and 21 according to Flightradar24 ADS-B data.

Chula clarified that the airline will not be able to fly to South Korea on a regular basis for the time being despite its links to Eastar Jet due to Thailand's FAA Category 2 status.

Both airlines were granted their respective operating licences (OL) in the first half of 2019.