Velasco pointed out that the new appointees are expected to make up for the lack of real aviation experience among the current crop of top CAAP executives. “This is seen by industry experts as the major stumbling block to the country’s ability to move from Category 2 to Category 1,” he added.
The DoTC Secretary is pushing the CAAP to get back the Category 1 status, thus CAAP executives are now focused on accomplishing “every actionable item” in the identified hurdles toward getting once again the Category 1 status,” he said.
Reacting to a statement that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) wants a CAAP that is “professionalized,” Velasco countered that “these newly designated executives are precisely aviation professionals in the highest order and therefore meet the requirements of ICAO.
Current CAAP Director General Alfonso Cusi, who reportedly objected to the appointments of the new CAAP officials, had extensive experience in shipping, but not in aviation. Earlier, a Congressman during the hearing on DoTC’s budget, asked about Cusi’s aviation experience, adding that what the country’s aviation authority needs are “real aviation experts”.
Those who were recently appointed to key CAAP positions by the CAAP Board are: Ramon Gutierrez, deputy director general for administration; Napoleon Garcia, deputy director general for operations; Wilfredo Borja, assistant director general III (Air Traffic Services); Andrew Basallote, assistant director II (Air Navigation Services); Edgardo Costes, assistant director general II (Aerodrome Development and Management Services); Wilson Mirabona, assistant director general I (Aerodrome Development and Management Services); and Andres Lauriall, assistant director general I (Civil Aviation Training Center).
“Gone were the days when non-aviation people were appointed to critical posts in aviation: they have just been replaced by air sector experts,” the DoTC official said.