License for flight attendants required by July
MANILA, Philippines - Flight attendants will need to secure a license from the local aviation regulator Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) before they could join the cabin crew starting July.
This new requirement is put in place following complaints on how the flight attendants and cabin crew of a Cebu Pacific Manila-Davao flight handled a crisis situation over a week ago. The budget airline's plane skidded off the runway of the Davao international airport on June 2 but the crew did not immediately deplane the 165 passengers onboard.
CAAP deputy director Capt. John Andrews told reporters on June 11 that the licensure requirement will ensure that flight attendants and cabin crew members have the necessary skills to follow and implement global standards in emergency situations.
Cebu Pacific management had asserted that the Davao airport mishap was not an emergency situation but CAAP officials insisted it was.
Labor protection, security
Andrews said this move will also benefit the airline employees in terms of labor protection and work security.
Licensing of flight attendants in the past was pushed after the Flight Attendants' and Stewards' Association of the Philippines (FASAP) who were employed by legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) complained of discrimination.
"[This move] is for their protection. Previously... cabin attendants have their own association, and when they have problems with the management, they sometimes go on strike," Andrews said in an interview on Tuesday, June 11.
"Because they are not licensed, the airline may be able to get any other person there," he added. PAL had replaced the striking FASAP members.
FASAP welcomed the move. "We are for any program that will professionalize and uplift our jobs as flight attendants," vice president Andy Ortega said in a text message to reporters.
Ortega added that, presently, there is already an ongoing certification process.
"FASAP is not against the licensing of flight attendants by the CAAP if needed. Presently, FASAP members are already certified by the ICAO," he said, referring to the UN aviation body called the International Civil Aviation Organization. ICAO oversees the global aviation industry and players.
Andrews stressed that the licensing process had been long planned as part of efforts to efficiently regulate the industry and elevate the quality of cabin crew service.
"When we got into CAAP almost a year ago, (the licensure) was already part of our plans considering everybody in the aviation industry is licensed," he said.
According to Andrews, flight attendants were issued licenses during the 1970s and the 1980s.
This was eventually phased out.
Getting a license
Andrews said flight attendants are currently undergoing training conducted by those certified by CAAP.
After they complete the course, the flight attendants are "certified in batches. A company trains them and the names are submitted to us. We do some examinations and tests and they are certified as a batch," Andrews said.
Some of the current requirements for flight attendants, according to Andrews, include height to reach the overhead bins as well as swimming ability in case of water landing. He also added that the current requirements are sufficient, but it just needs to be refocused.
"I don't think there's anything lacking, (on) the importance the airline is giving to the work of the (flight attendants). Now they are more interested in how the flight attendants dance or how they conduct their games? Or how they sell the supply there, whatever it is?" he said.
The issued license will be valid for 3 years, according to Andrews. The flight attendants also have to undergo a refresher course and training every year.
The licensure application process may include the following, although the list of requirements is not yet final:
- Personal visit to CAAP office
- Passing of documents including credentials and training records, among others
- Possible verbal and/or written exam