The Thai Civil Aviation Department is pushing for government funds to upgrade landing aids at 16 provincial airports, following the recent crash of a Thai International Airbus A310 on approach to Surat Thani.

The instrument landing system (ILS) at Surat Thani had been out of commission for two years - not six months as previously stated - at the time of the crash on 11 December, which killed 101 of the 146 passengers and crew on board the A310. Six months ago, a notice to airmen (NOTAM) was issued stating that the system would remain inoperative until January.

The system was turned off to allow runway extension work to take place, which also meant that half the lights on the airport's runway 22 were out of service. The A310 crashed after the pilot made three missed approaches and reported being unable to see the runway because of blinding rain.

According to the Civil Aviation Department, five out of 27 Thai civil airfields are equipped with ILS, and two others are having the system installed. 500 million baht ($14 million) is being sought from the state to fund ILS installation at 16 of the 20 remaining airports.

Source: Flight International