MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, March 25 gave this “marching orders” to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP): work double time to lift bans imposed by the US and Europe on local carriers.
“The job is not yet over. In the coming days, weeks and months, all of us will be working toward getting our country off the watchlists of the US and EU,” Aquino said in his speech during the agency’s 5th anniversary celebration.
In March, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) lifted “significant safety concerns” on Philippine aviaiton as CAAP became compliant with global standards.
ICAO evaluated the Philippines in 2008 and its unfavorable audit report was the basis of US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in downgrading CAAP to Category 2 status. This rating barred local carriers from launching new US routes and expanding existing ones. The European Union followed FAA’s move and placed Philippine carriers in its blacklist.
The lifting of the bans would help boost the tourism industry and the economy, said Aquino.
“Let’s get this done. We have the momentum; we have the right people and have put the right systems in place. It is time for us to usher in a golden age not just for Philippine aviation – not just for Philippine tourism – but for our entire country,” he said.
CAAP officials will fly to Brussels to meet EU officials in April. They will ask for the Philippines’ removal from the union’s blacklist.
If all goes well, the lifting of the EU ban may happen in June, said veteran aviation industry player Benjamin Solis.
Aquino said, “soon, our airlines may be flying back and forth to cities like New York, Madrid and Rome.” – Rappler.com
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