Cebu Pacific Renews Permit Granting Access to United States

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific is seeking the renewal of a permit that grants the airline access to fly to the United States. 

cebu pacific
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
In an application filed with the US Department of Transportation, Cebu Pacific cited that "Although Cebu Pacific has not yet commenced operations under its exemption, it wishes to renew its exemption so that service may begin without delay when appropriate."

The exemption that Cebu Pacific identified in its application is one that permits the airline to operate scheduled foreign air transportation of persons, property, and mail from the Philippines via intermediate points to Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Guam, Saipan and four additional points in the United States on the condition that the airline engages in such operations under a wet-lease arrangement only.

A wet-lease involves the leasing of not only an aircraft from another operator but also a crew to operate the aircraft. This exemption is the only means by which Cebu Pacific can serve the United States market until the Philippines emerges from Category 2 status which restricts Philippine carriers from expanding in the United States. The United States Federal Aviation Administration imposes such restrictions on countries that fail to comply with the Recommended Standards and Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization on the oversight of civil aviation safety.

The Philippines has remained in Category 2 status since 2008. However, local authorities in the Philippines remain confident that the status will be upgraded in the near future given the recent developments that saw the International Civil Aviation Organization remove the country from its list of member states with significant safety concerns and the lifting of the European Union ban that enabled Philippine Airlines to restore flights to Europe.

A Federal Aviation Administration team was due in Manila in November to conduct a mini audit and to possibly declare an upgrade of the country's aviation status but the trip was postponed until January 2014. 

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