Lack of Qualified Flight Safety Inspectors or trying to hire own men?
September 3, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that the Philippines Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) has officially requested the agency to defer again its Safety Assessment review scheduled in October for next year after failing to hire qualified flight safety inspectors for civil airliners.
"The safety assessment review for the Philippines is scheduled next month October 2009" says Les Dorr Jr., a spokesman for the FAA in Washington."But I think its not gonna happen anytime this year."
This is the third time the Philippine government asked for deferral of compliance verification pursuant to the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program after it found the country's aviation agency non-compliant with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in December 2007. The next assessment is tentatively scheduled in March 2010.
Philippine Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza invited the FAA to make the review in June 2008 but got a schedule set for November 2008 to give the Philippine aviation agency ample time to complete its deficiencies but only to be told later by the Philippine government to move the review date to October this year citing "failure to hire qualified personnel" which include among others flight safety inspectors otherwise known as the "Check ride" pilot examiners in the aviation world. The examiner is responsible for airline pilot's certification and rating.
The FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that operate flights to the United States and determine whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is addressing the issues, including working with the FAA an action plan on how to correct the areas of concern so that their safety oversight system fully complies with standards and practices set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
But according to ICAO flight safety consultant James Hooker, formerly hired by the Philippine government to address the problem, told that he was not surprise of the numerous deferrals as CAAP officials had been very dismissive of ICAO recommendations in the past that they would probably be rejected by FAA if they come.
Consultant Peter J. Weiss from ICAO, who currently coordinates Flight Operations Quality & Safety Systems in CAAP, replaces Hooker on the post but share the same sentiment to the extent of disapproving outright unqualified applicants to the examiner position and his assent to some qualification issues remain a thorny subject against the world regulating body. CAAP has yet to fulfill the technical requirements in areas of certification because of his objections.
ICAO is the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation. It establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance, which includes pilot rating and certification procedures from qualified pilot instructor.
A Category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO standards while Category 2 safety rating means that the country’s civil aviation authority does not comply with ICAO standards.
A Category 2 rating means a country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with international standards, or that its civil aviation authority is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, recordkeeping or inspection procedures.
The inspection aspect tied CAAP to the wall that unless they adhere to ICAO standards, the Philippines dream of Category 1 will just remain well a dream.