Cusi in, Ciron out at CAAP

By Rudy Santos

March 07, 2010
Justify Full
MANILA, Philippines - Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Alfonso Cusi will soon leave his post to head the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Cusi, who withdrew his candidacy for a congressional seat in the 2nd district of Oriental Mindoro last Thursday, confirmed the appointment in a telephone interview yesterday.

He will replace CAAP director general Ruben Ciron after a transition period.

Cusi said for the remainder of his term in MIAA, he will focus on getting an ISO 900 certification for Terminals 2 and 3, which will mean that the terminals have met international standards for service, safety, and security.

As the new CAAP chief, Cusi will face the task of restoring the country’s civil aviation rating to Category 1 after the US Federal Aviation Authority (US-FAA) downgraded it to Category 2 in 2007 because of safety issues and the lack of technical personnel.

“Of course, there is an urgent need to address the downgrade,” Cusi said.

The civil aviation downgrade prevents the Philippines from taking advantage of routes to rebounding global economies, whose citizens are traveling more.

To restore the country’s aviation rating to Category 1, the CAAP needs to hire more technical experts. Its employees are also demanding higher salaries.

On Thursday, Ciron announced that the CAAP is now hiring check-pilots, aircraft inspectors and other technical personnel after the Civil Service Commission approved the qualification standards for the applicants.

Ciron said he is preparing to brief the incoming aviation chief on the status of the restoration of the civil aviation rating.

Ciron is scheduled to leave for Brussels next week to present to European aviation bodies the response of the CAAP to the October 2009 audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Cusi said he will announce who his successor will be in a few days. Airport sources said MIAA executive assistant Robert Uy and Terminal 3 manager Melvin Matibag are at the top of the list of officers likely to replace Cusi.

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