Possible US Category 1 Upgrade Postponed to January

The possible upgrade of the Philippines' aviation safety rating by US authorities has been postponed until January at the earliest. Airlines in the Philippines are anxiously anticipating the upgrade as it will enable local carriers to launch new flights to the United States. 

philippines us faa category 1

According to John Andrews, Deputy Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the visit by US Federal Aviation Administration officials scheduled for November was postponed until January. "All we can say is that the audit has been rescheduled to January," said Andrews. 

He would not elaborate as to why the visit was cancelled. Andrews has remained confident in recent months that the country's aviation safety rating should be upgraded by the end of the year suggesting that he would even resign if it wasn't. "We are still maintaining the position that we will be lifted before the end of the year. If that does not happen, the buck stops at me," said Andrews. "If this does not happen before the end of the year, I will no longer be here. That is my commitment."

A team led by US-FAA Flight Service Standards Division Manager John Barbagallo was scheduled for November to meet with local aviation authorities and to conduct a mini inspection and audit. The country's aviation safety rating was downgraded in 2008 upon recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization of the United Nations. 

Category 2 status represents a failure by local aviation authorities to comply with ICAO safety standards in the oversight of air carrier operations. Although Philippine carriers are permitted to maintain existing operations to the United States while in Category 2 status, they are not permitted to mount any new routes or use new types of aircraft.

Teams from the US Federal Aviation Administration have been visiting the Philippines over the last four months as part of an on-going evaluation process of the country's aviation safety standards. In February, the International Civil Aviation Organization removed the Philippines off of its list of countries with significant aviation safety concerns. This decision later paved the way for the European Union to offer a partial lifting of the ban that it imposed in 2010 by permitting Philippine Airlines to re-enter European airspace. 

Upon the lifting of Category 2 status, Philippine Airlines is planning to immediately replace older aircraft with modern fuel efficient aircraft to improve operating efficiencies on its US routes. It also plans to mount additional flights to other US cities.

“I am confident that there are no more safety issues as far as we are concerned and this has been confirmed by no less than the EU and ICAO,” Andrews said.

1 comment:

  1. January is now over, but where is the upgrade? Is the audit had been conducted?


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