US to hold 'mini-audit' of Philippine aviation safety standards next week

November 20, 2013 9:19 AM

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By: Darwin G. Amojelar, November 20, 2013 3:42 PM

MANILA - The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) expects an upgrade from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to Category 1 in the coming weeks.

In a briefing today, CAAP deputy director-general John Andrews said FAA manager for international policy John Barbagallo will visit the Philippines on Monday for a "mini audit" to validate the country's progress in addressing aviation safety issues.

"He is coming here after several FAA representatives he has sent over here for the past months and reported to him that we are ready [for] lifting," Andrews said.

"We are satisfied that we have complied the safety requirements. We are still maintaining that we will be lifted before the end of the year. There are no more safety issues as far as we are concerned," he said.

Andrews said the Philippines' compliance with safety regulations has been the basis of the separate decisions of the European Union (EU) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to remove Manila from their respective blacklists.

Last July 10, the EU lifted its ban on Philippine Airlines (PAL), allowing it to resume flights to European destinations after a three-year absence.

The lifting of the EU ban comes on the heels of the Philippines' removal from the ICAO roster of countries with significant safety concerns.

Once the FAA lifts the Philippines' Category 2 rating, PAL can open new routes to the US that are reserved only for countries with Category 1 standing.

Earlier, CAAP Director-General William Hotchkiss III said a second visitation from the FAA is ongoing and "all indications are positive towards a possible upgrade before the end of the year."

In 2008, the FAA downgraded Manila to Category 2, preventing Philippine carriers from expanding in America.


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