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Friday, September 10, 2010

Philippines prepares for EU check on aviation safety standard

The Philippines' government and civil aviation sectors are preparing
for the visit in October by an official team of the European Union
(EU) to conduct an audit on progress in improving safety standards and
procedures, the chief of the Civil Aviation Authority of the
Philippines (CAAP) said.

Alfonso G. Cusi, CAAP director general, said in a telephone interview
that his office has asked the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
to provide a detailed agenda for the visit on Oct.18-22.

"We’re hoping to get the union’s reply as soon as possible to prepare
for the visit," he said. "The visit has been scheduled in October
because the European Union Air Safety Conference is scheduled in
November. We’re hoping to get positive feedback from them so that the
representatives could relay that to other union members in the
conference."

The outcome of the visit will be discussed and reviewed by EU members
in the conference that will be held in Brussels, Belgium.

Mr. Cusi said the visit is a "perfect opportunity for the country to
convince the union that it has improved the security and safety
standards of its aviation industry" after the EU banned Philippine
carriers last April from flying to the organization’s 27 member
states.

The move was after the announcement by the International Civil
Aviation Organization in October last year of a "Significant Safety
Concern" relating to poor government oversight of safety in the
industry and the earlier downgrading of the Philippines’ safety rating
by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

EASA is the civilian aviation regulator of the EU based in Cologne,
Germany that enforces safety standards and authorizes non-EU flag
carriers to service the region.

"We are also hoping to get clearance for the two major carriers of the
Philippines which are Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific," Mr.
Cusi said.

"Actually, Cebu Pacific never had flights to any EU country," he
clarified. "But as one of the major airlines here, we have to get it
cleared, according to the union’s standards."

PAL President Jaime J. Bautista told reporters at the sidelines of the
company’s stockholders’ meeting yesterday that the flag carrier has
been always prepared for the inspection. "We hope to have the ban
lifted as soon as possible," he said.

PAL and Cebu Pacific representatives met EU aviation officials last
June to update them on the two carriers’ upgraded security and safety
procedures after getting new operating certificates from CAAP.
However, the airlines were unable to convince the body to drop the
Philippines from its black list.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

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