An industry in limbo
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Philippines was downgraded by the United States Federal Aviation Administration in December of 2007 or more than 5 years ago from Category I to Category II, citing significant safety, oversight and management shortcomings. This downgrade meant that unless improvements are made and certain standards are met, Philippine carriers could not get more flights to the US.
When President Aquino took over in 2010, he said that his administration will be working double time to get the Category I rating from the FAA back as well as having the country removed from the European aviation blacklist, where the Philippine aviation sector remains blacklisted due to concerns regarding the ability of the aviation regulating body to implement global safety standards.
However despite the President’s attention, the Philippines remains stuck in Category II with the FAA and is still in the European aviation blacklist, and what is worse is that in the most recent audit of the International Civil Aviation Organization conducted from February 18 to 22, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines was also a failure. Sources told the media that the ICAO team had informed the CAAP and Department of Transportation and Communications officials that they passed only one out of five major issues that were looked into.
Years have passed and yet the government agencies responsible for improving the dismal state of Philippine aviation are showing us that they are obviously unable to create an environment where global safety standards are met. Why is it that the CAAP, after years of trying and purportedly having the support of the highest official in the land, still cannot meet the minimum standards set by the US FAA, the European Commission, and the ICAO? How many more years does the agency need to fix this problem and how many more millions of pesos will our country lose just because potential tourists do not have an easy way to get to the Philippines?
How much longer does President Benigno Aquino intend to tolerate the lack of results from the CAAP?*