US Air Safety Audit May Proceed This Month

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has revealed that the US Federal Aviation Administration may proceed with an audit of the air safety standards in the Philippines this month. The audit was previously scheduled for November but was postponed at the request of US officials.

The audit is seen as a key step in helping the Philippines to obtain a US aviation upgrade back to Category 1 status that would enable air carriers in the Philippines to expand services to the United States. The possible audit this month was confirmed in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer sent by John Andrews, Deputy Director General of CAAP.

"There is a schedule but we will have to confirm the dates," said Andrews. He did not elaborate on any further details of the audit but previous reports have suggested that Andrews remains confident that the country will receive its coveted aviation upgrade. In a previous interview, Andrews stated that, "There are no more safety issues as far as we are concerned. This has been confirmed by no less than the European Union and International Civil Aviation Organization." Andrews even went as far as stating that he would resign if the Philippines did not receive its upgrade.

The delay in the original scheduling of the audit has meant further delays for local carriers that are anxiously awaiting an announcement in the hopes that they can mount services to the United States. Philippine Airlines is the only carrier that is currently able to fly to the United States. However, it is restricted to its existing destinations of Los Angeles and San Francisco. PAL has indicated in the past that it is interested in expanding service to New York and San Diego. The restrictions also prevent PAL from upgrading the aircraft type used on the existing routes meaning that the airline must incur higher costs as it is not permitted to deploy modern, fuel efficient aircraft like its Boeing 777 fleet.

Meanwhile, the country's largest budget carrier, Cebu Pacific, has expressed an interest in serving the United States by mounting flights to Hawaii and Guam. There are no US destinations currently in the Cebu Pacific route network. The US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the Philippines five years ago to Category 2 status citing significant air safety concerns in the country. An upgrade back to Category 1 status would permit an expansion of existing flights in the United States and the opportunity for new carriers to mount services to the country.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.