MANILA, Philippines - A team from the European Union's air safety body will visit Manila in October to assess the country's progress in meeting global aviation safety standards, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said.
Findings made by experts from the European Air Safety Agency (EASA) will determine if the ban preventing Philippine carriers from entering European airspace could be lifted.
Last March, the EU barred carriers from Sudan and the Philippines from mounting flights to the 27-country bloc. The ban stemmed from CAAP's failure to address safety issues raised by its peer body in the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) also found gaps in CAAP's regulation, prompting it to classify the Philippines as among those with significant security risks.
The CAAP said the EASA team will be in Manila tentatively on October 18 to 22. "The result of the visit will be discussed and reviewed by the Air Safety Committee during the next meeting in Brussels in November."
Also on September 2 to 4, the CAAP said ICAO President Roberto Kobeh Gonalez will visit the country, partly to discuss CAAP's Corrective Action Plan.
CAAP director general Alfonso Cusi said: “This is good, we are ready for them."
“CAAP drafted a strong and accurate Corrective Action Plan for presentation to FAA," he added.
46 of 64 FAA findings met
CAAP said it has addressed 46 out of 64 of the FAA audit findings. These covered specific operating regulations, qualifications and training staff, procedures and technical guidance, licensing and certification obligations, surveillance obligations and resolution of safety concerns.
It also noted that most of the 46 findings were "serious non-compliance" with the ICAO standards for aviation safety oversight.
In addressing the remaining 18 audit findings, CAAP said it will continue a top-down review of the organization and its operations.
CAAP is also rushing the appointment of qualified technical personnel to fill up the positions in the Flight Standards Inspectorate Service, the office primarily responsible for safety oversight of air operators.
“I believe our aviation industry has stabilizes with several corrective actions undertaken since March 2010, but still there is a need to institutionalize procedures and business processes to ensure oversight functions are being done in accordance to international standards and practices,” Cusi said.