Officials of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lectured airlines and major repair stations in the Philippines and its neighboring countries on the latest international aircraft safety and maintenance practices.
During the first-ever Maintenance Safety Seminar in the Philippines, the US FAA San Francisco International Field Office (SFO-IFO) and FAA Safety Team (FAAST) provided comprehensive safety practices in civil aviation maintenance that airlines and repairs stations around the world should strictly follow. The three-day seminar was sponsored by flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) in cooperation with the Civil Aviation Administration of the Philippines (CAAP).
Lori Aquilino, assistant manager of the SFO-IFO, led discussions on 14 areas in aircraft maintenance that FAA regularly monitors. These include: parts and materials, record keeping, work away from fixed location, contract maintenance, certificate requirements, maintenance and alterations, technical data, quality control system, tools and equipment, manual system, training program, personnel, housing and facilities, and maintenance process.
The FAAST Team, on the other hand, discussed safety management and risk management which are required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to avoid aviation-related accidents.
To update the US FAA and seminar participants, CAAP Director-General Ruben Ciron presented the current state of Philippine aviation and the agency’s efforts towards lifting the country’s Category 2 rating imposed by FAA last year. Ciron was joined by other CAAP officials, including Eduardo Kapunan, Eduardo Batac, Romeo Alamillo, Teodoro Lasmarias and 14 CAAP inspectors, engineers and other operations safety officers.
A total of 165 participants from various airlines, repair stations and training organizations including the Philippine Navy joined the FAA safety seminar. There were 140 representatives from the Philippines and 25 from other countries in the Asia Pacific region. The Economic Section of the US Embassy sent two observers.
PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista told the FAA and CAAP that PAL continues to do its share in promoting safety in Philippine aviation.
"Safety consciousness is intrinsic to PAL's operations. It is part of our way of doing business. It is second nature to our staff, whether at the frontlines or the back office. We put a very high premium on safety compliance," he stressed.
Achim von Oertzen, a seminar participant and technical advisor-Aircraft Maintenance of Lufthansa Technik Philippines, PAL's aircraft maintenance service provider, said: "The [FAA] presentation made us think which processes to prioritize, which to give high importance."
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Albano of PAL's airworthiness management department, said the seminar’s emphasis was on uniformity of safety practices among operators and repair stations.
"PAL needs to strictly adhere to these safety practices to provide the best service to our passengers regardless if our airplanes are subjected to heightened surveillance by FAA inspectors in the US as a consequence of the downgrading of our country [to Category 2].”
Apart from the series of lectures, seminar participants were treated by LTP to a dinner-tour of its sprawling maintenance facilities at the NAIA complex.