FAA set to audit PH; DOTC hopeful of upgrade

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 21 2013 09:30 AM | Updated as of Mar 21 2013 05:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to conduct an audit of the Philippines amid the decision of the International Civil Aviation Organization to lift the “significant safety concerns” (SSC) on the country.

Catherine Gonzales, undersecretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), told reporters on the sidelines of the annual convention of the Chamber of Thrift Banks that the government is in discussion with FAA on a possible audit this year.

“The audit will be for the lifting of our Category 2 status. We are very hopeful that we can pass,” Gonzales stressed.

She said that preparations for the FAA audit later this year are being conducted simultaneously with the development of several airports nationwide, including the rehabilitation of the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.

In 2008, the US FAA downgraded from Category 1 to Category 2 the safety rating of the Philippines upon the recommendation of the ICAO after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) failed to comply with safety standards for the oversight of air carrier operations.

Furthermore, the 27-member European Commission decided in April 2010 to impose a ban on Philippine carriers from European airspace for the failure of the CAAP to reform the country’s civil aviation system.

These prohibited domestic airlines from flying to Europe and mounting additional flights to the US.

Last Saturday, the DOTC announced that ICAO has officially delisted the Philippines from its tally of member states with unresolved significant safety concerns after an audit conducted on the CAAP from Feb. 18 to 22.