Last Monday, Cusi was sworn in as the new Director General of the CAAP following his decision to pull out from the congressional race in the second district of Mindoro Oriental.
After simple turnover rites held at the CAAP headquarters in Pasay City, Cusi said his main thrust as the new CAAP chief would be to bring the country back to "Category 1" status.
Back in 2007, the US Federal Aviation Administration conducted an audit of the country's civil aviation system and found it to be non-compliant with the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The negative findings resulted in the FAA downgrading the Philippines' status to "Category 2."
An FAA "Category 1" status indicates if a country's civil aviation industry is fully compliant with international aviation safety standards. The FAA performs an audit of the concerned country’s Civil Aviation Authority to ensure its capability to provide safety certification and continue oversight on its international carriers.
The audit team finds out if the CAA is compliant in areas of aviation legislation, operating regulations, civil aviation structure and safety oversight functions, and licensing and certification obligations. Civil aviation authorities who are found not in compliance with the ICAO standards are given a “Category 2” status.
The FAA auditing team found that the then Air Transportation Office (ATO) lacked the authority to conduct safety oversight functions and had deficiencies in licensing and certification regulations.
The negative rating makes it harder for Philippine air carriers to apply for additional or new flights to US destinations.
"I will be addressing these issues head on," Cusi said. "We will work closely with the airline operators and industry players to get the authority on the right track."
"We will correct all the deficiencies found in our system and hopefully get back the "Category 1" status," Cusi said.