DOTC says ICAO audit a success

Posted at 02/23/13 4:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The country may have one less thing to worry about as the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said it has met standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for the local aviation industry.

In a statement on Saturday, the DOTC said the ICAO team which visited the country from Feb. 18 to 22 "expressed its great satisfaction with CAAP's (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) efforts to comply with international safety standards."

Moreover, the ICAO Coordinated Validation Missions team had told DOTC and CAAP officials it will be recommending the lifting of the "significant safety concern (SSC)" designated to the Philippines, the Transportation department said.

"CAAP is optimistic that the recommendations will be approved/adopted by ICAO Headquarters. The ICAO official announcement on the lifting of the SSCs is expected to be made within two to three weeks' time," DOTC said.

ICAO's mission to the country was only focused on two points: the OPS 1 Certification of Airlines in the Philippines, and the Air/7 registration of Philippine-registered civil aviation aircraft.

This, as the other three critical elements--Legal, Organization and Licensing--were already addressed during another visit in October last year, DOTC said.

"With the lifting of the ICAO SSCs, CAAP can now focus on regaining the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 rating," DOTC stressed.

Aside from the "significant safety concern" rating from ICAO, the local aviation industry also has a low grade from the US FAA, which gave the country a "category 2" in 2008, and from the European Union, which blacklisted the Philippines in April 2010.

These low ratings restrict local carriers from starting or expanding operations abroad.