Philippine aviation officials are confident of maintaining the country’s safety aviation ratings with the US and Europe, a ranking official of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said.
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Philippines confident of keeping safety aviation ratings
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - November 1, 2016 - 12:00am

SEATTLE – Philippine aviation officials are confident of maintaining the country’s safety aviation ratings with the US and Europe, a ranking official of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said.

Capt. Manuel Antonio Tamayo, deputy director general of CAAP, said officials of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are set to conduct an audit on the country’s aviation safety rating in the middle of next year.

“We are confident based on what’s going on. And we have so much time to improve,” he said.

Tamayo said ICAO representatives visited the Philippines to conduct a pre-audit in September. The unit of the United Nations (UN) conducts an audit every two years.

“They were here the other month to check on the status,” he said.

Tamayo explained the team found weakness in three of the eight audit points particularly on manpower. “Out of the eight, we are strong on the five. The five pulled us up. But what we want to do is bring up the three as well,” he said.

These eight audit protocols include legislation, organization, licensing, operation, airworthiness, accident investigation, navigation services, and aerodromes.

Tamayo explained CAAP is now training more personnel and is looking for ways to compete with the private sector so their employees would not be pirated.

Likewise, he said they assured ICAO the programs undertaken by CAAP would continue despite the change in management after President Duterte took over last June 30

“We had to talk to them, In fact we had teleconference last week. They just wanted to know who we are and where we came from,” he said.

Auditors, Tamayo said, are pushing for the establishment of an Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) in line with the ICAO Convention and to comply with the European Union (EU).

Furthermore, Tamayo said CAAP Is also pursuing efforts to focus as regulator and not as operators of airports. “We should not be operators, we should be regulators,” he said.

Representatives from the US-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have been visiting the Philippines to ensure the country’s compliance to aviation safety ratings

Tamayo said FAA’s Jim Spillane is set to visit the Philippines on Nov. 7 to finalize a technical assistance program that would help maintain the country’s aviation security rating.

The Philippines passed the aviation safety audit of ICAO paving the way for the lifting of safety security concerns in February 2013. A few months later the European Commission lifted the ban imposed on flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) from entering the European airspace.

Almost a year later, the US-FAA upgraded the Philippines back to the Category 1 status allowing for PAL to mount more flights to the US.

The country was downgraded by the US-FAA to Category 2 status in 2008 due to safety security concerns raised by ICAO thus prohibiting airlines from the Philippines to mount additional flights to the US.

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