In a statement on Saturday, Alfonso Cusi, the two-month old director general of the CAAP, said the regulatory body has formally asked ICAO to lift its Serious Safety Concern (SSC) status on the Philippine body.
“We believe that we have fully completed all the requirements imposed by the regulatory body,” Cusi said.
ICAO’s technical report was the basis of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) in downgrading the Philippines’ safety rating to Category 2 in 2008. European Union followed and included the Philippines in its 13th updated list of countries banned (Related story: EU bans airlines from Sudan, Philippines) from that region’s airspace starting March 2010. South Korea has informally warned it would do the same but this was averted.
In its latest report on the Philippines dated October 2009, ICAO noted that the CAAP, which was created following the 2008 FAA downgrade, had more lapses in meeting international standards in overseeing aviation players.
Cusi, the former chief of the Manila airport authority who decided not to join the local race in the 2010 elections, replaced the former CAAP chief, a retired air force general. (Related Story: Cusi named aviation body chief)
In the statement, Cusi said the CAAP has already conformed to the remaining concerns raised by ICAO in its Corrective Action Plan. These include upgrading the technical skills of CAAP personnel overseeing international flights and small domestic aircrafts.
“We have been working hard for this for two (2) months now and now is the right time, we are ready,” Cusi said.
He was referring to the following efforts:
- recent certification of 9 out of 10 operators implementing international flight operations
- surveillance inspections of 9 operators conducting international flight operations
- certification of 14 out of 39 operators engaged as domestic taxis, chartered and aerial works utilizing aircraft with 19 passengers or less
“Eighteen Air Operators have a definite deadline until December 1, 2010 to complete their certification process otherwise their operations will be suspended,” Cusi said.
Last March 15, 2010, Cusi said CAAP hired 50 qualified ICAO-trained Qualified Technical Personnel for the Flight Standard Inspectorate Services, the office responsible for safety oversight of Air Operators. These inspectors conduct surveillance inspections including post certification audits of all Air Operators under the close supervision and guidance of the resident ICAO experts.