Palace confident PH will pass aviation review in 2013
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte says the Philippines will be able to address significant aviation safety concerns in time for the final audit of the International Civil Aviation Organization next year

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will get an aviation safety upgrade by next year, a confident Malacañang said, even after the country flunked a recent review conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao).

The country’s aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), remains in Category 2 status, after inspectors of Icao gave it a failing grade in two significant safety issues — aircraft registration and flight safety inspection, earlier reports said.

However, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said there was “progress on some of the areas of concern” and other concerns will be addressed in the final review by Icao.

“There will be a final audit by the first quarter of 2013 and the CAAP and Department of Transportation and Communications are confident the significant safety concerns can be addressed in time for the final audit,” she told state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

In 2008, the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) downgraded CAAP to Category 2 — which has since prevented local airlines from expanding operations in the US. The FAA downgrade followed a safety audit that found a total of 23 deficiencies in the Philippines’ air industry regulations.

Soon after, the European Union also raised huge safety concerns over the Philippines’ aviation industry that resulted in the banning of local carriers from landing in European airports.

Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), for one, is banking on the lifting of the Category 2 status so it can go ahead with its plan to launch more long-haul flights to destinations in the West like Toronto, New York and Paris.

Currently, PAL flies to Vancouver in Canada and 3 West Coast cities in the US — Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. It used to fly to Europe, but stopped its services there. –

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