‘Davao airport accident won’t affect evaluation of Phl aviation’
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Authorities are confident that the accident at the Davao City International Airport involving an aircraft of Cebu Pacific would not derail government efforts to have the ban lifted on local airlines mounting additional flights to the US and Europe.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, in a text message to The STAR, said the government is confident that the incident would not affect the ongoing evaluation by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and the European Union.

Abaya said the accident that resulted in the cancellation of all flights to and from the Davao airport is not unique to the Philippines.

“These events happen in the most advanced societies. What is important is our airlines are complying with international safety standards and procedures. I am quite confident we are,” Abaya said.

The FAA downgraded the safety rating of the Philippines from category 1 to category 2 in 2008 upon the recommendation of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) failed to reform the country’s civil aviation system.

In 2010, the 27-member European Commission also banned Philippine carriers from operating in Europe.

The ICAO lifted the significant security concerns on the Philippines this year after CAAP passed an audit conducted by ICAO from Feb. 18 to 22.

Capt. Rodante Joya, deputy director general of CAAP, said the Davao incident would even boost the country’s efforts for the lifting of the ban. “This will show how we handle this kind of situation,” he said.

Joya said a representative of the EU Commission directorate general for mobility and transport is on a four-day on-site visit to the Philippines.

A meeting of the EU air safety committee by the end of the month would discuss the results of the audit on the country.

Last month, a team composed of the FAA’s Western Pacific-Flight Standards Division manager Nicholas Reyes and senior FAA representative to the Philippines James Spillane conducted an audit on the Philippines.

CAAP director general William Hotchkiss III had said the government is confident that the Philippines would get an upgrade from the FAA and the ban imposed by EU would be lifted early next year.

ABAYA CEBU PACIFIC CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES DAVAO DAVAO CITY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT EUROPEAN COMMISSION EUROPEAN UNION FEDERAL AVIATION AUTHORITY INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION PHILIPPINES
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