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SkyJet and SEAir International Forced to Suspend Operations

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has suspended the operations of Philippine boutique leisure carriers SkyJet Airlines and South East Asian Airlines due to safety concerns. The suspension of both carriers' Air Operator Certificates took immediate effect on May 18.

magnum air
Copyright Photo: Adrian Smith/PPSG
An Air Operator Certificate enables an aircraft operator to conduct operations on a charter basis or for regular public transportation purposes among others. According to the national aviation regulator, various safety concerns were observed at both airlines, which resulted in the order to suspend operations immediately. 

At SEAIR International Incorporated, which operates as South East Asian Airlines, the Civil Aviation Authority highlighted issues with the carrier's flight safety program, rules on accident prevention, and its management structure. At Magnum Air, which operates as SkyJet, concerns were raised regarding flight data monitoring, maintenance control, and quality assurance pertaining to airworthiness. 

In citing its observations, the Civil Aviation Authority referenced a report that was published by the European Union Assessment Team, which visited the Philippines last month to observe the safety guidelines and procedures in place at a number of local carriers. The European Assessment Team was in the Philippines conducting an audit from April 16 to 24.

seair international
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
The Civil Aviation Authority issued letters on May 15 to Teodoro Fojas of SkyJet and Avelino Zapanta of South East Asian Airlines, signed by Director General William Hotchkiss, requesting that the safety concerns be corrected immediately. The suspension will remain in place until both carriers have complied with the safety regulations imposed by the national regulator under the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations.

South East Asian Airlines currently operates flights from Manila to Basco, Caticlan, and Romblon. SkyJet operates flights from Manila to Basco and Coron. Prior to the suspension, SkyJet was planning to launch four weekly flights between Manila and Caticlan beginning on May 21. The flights would have been the fastest flights to Boracay from the Philippine capital operated by an 80-seat British Aerospace Bae 146-100 aircraft. 

In March, SkyJet was sold to the Solar Group media conglomerate after the Civil Aeronautics Board approved the transfer of ownership to Thunder Air Aviation. Ronald Tieng is the Chairman of SkyJet Airlines, while Dino Chua is President, and Ted Fojas is Chief Operating Officer. 

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