PH aviation passes ICAO safety audit - CAAP
MANILA, Philippines - The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has finally lifted the "significant safety concern" tag on Philippine aviation, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
In a statement on Monday, CAAP Director General William K. Hotchkiss III said it has received official notice from the ICAO that "the corrective actions taken by the Philippines have successfully addressed and resolved the SSCs identified by ICAO."
The letter was signed by Mohamed Elamiri, ICAO Deputy Director for Safety Management and Monitoring, Air Navigational Bureau.
Last February 18, the ICAO sent an audit team to look at the corrective actions undertaken by the CAAP, which were seen as necessary in getting approval from the international aviation community. ICAO had placed the "significant safety concern” tag on the Philippines in 2010.
"We hope that this formal lifting of the SSC's will finally put to rest the lingering doubts of those who may have been misled by false reports that CAAP has embarrassed President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Philippine government by failing the ICAO audit anew," said Hotchkiss, referring to a news report that the Philippines failed the audit.
Earlier, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the ICAO team were "satisfied with their observations/ findings on the CAAP efforts to comply with international safety standards.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the CAAP will continue to work with the European Union and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the upgrade of the country's aviation status.
Passing the ICAO audit is seen as a step closer for local airlines to be allowed to fly to Europe again and expand US operations. The ICAO audit was used as the basis for the European Union's ban on Philippine airlines from mounting any flights to any EU country.
In 2007, the FAA had also downgraded the Philippines to "category 2" status, which means Philippine airlines are prevented from expanding in the US.