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US Federal Aviation to restore Philippines' Category 1 status?
« on: October 04, 2012, 08:00:02 AM »
By Lilybeth G. Ison

President Benigno Aquino III expressed confidence Wednesday the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration will restore the Philippines' Category 1 status.

This is a rating that would certify that it had fully complied with the international air safety standards.

In his speech at the inauguration of the B/E Aerospace Inc. at the First Philippine Industrial Park in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, the President said that with incoming Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya at the helm, the country will be able to achieve a Category 1 status on air safety standards from the FAA.

"We are confident that we will be able to achieve regulatory approval to further expand our aviation sector, especially since we have recently chosen a very competent public servant as our new Secretary of Transportation and Communications: Congressman Jun Abaya," he said.

The President said under Abaya's leadership, "I am sure the Philippines will meet the international aviation standards required to pull us up from the FAA’s Category 2 classification."

In 2008, the FAA downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 status for failing to comply with international safety standards.

As a result, the country’s national carrier, Philippine Airlines, was unable to expand its operations in the United States.

In 2010, the European Union also banned Philippine aircraft from flying to Europe.

There are two concerns identified by the FAA as safety concerns remain unresolved by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

These were the lack of qualified safety personnel and the lack of an integrated electronic system to modernize the sector’s database.

CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III earlier said it is preparing for an audit by a team from the International Civil Aviation Organization, which had tagged the Philippines as a "significant safety concern" in 2008.

Hotchkiss said that passing the ICAO audit would boost the CAAP’s chances at securing Category 1 status from the FAA.

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