EU aviation body invited to inspect RP facilities

Written by Recto Mercene
21 March 2010

THE Civil Aviation Authority has invited the European Community’s Air Safety Committee (EC-ASC) to come to the Philippines and look how CAAP has complied with EC’s safety concerns.

The invitation was extended by CAAP Director General Alfonso Cusi during a one-day presentation last Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, before the 27-member body led by Daniel Calleja, the European Union’s director general for transportation and energy.

Cusi headed that mission composed of Caap technical personnel and Philippine Airlines (PAL) executives to the EC.

The mission returned on Saturday to report the outcome of its appearance before the EC.

“Twice in the past we asked you not to come because we are not ready. Now we ask you to come because we are ready,” Cusi told EC aviation officials.

He added that he hopes to demonstrate the Philippines’ commitment to improve air-safety oversight by inviting Calleja’s group to conduct its own safety inspection of the Philippine aviation system.

The EC-ASC is concerned about the safety of Philippine aviation because many Europeans visit the country as tourists or businessmen.

It would take two weeks before that body officially communicates with the CAAP to make known its response to Cusi’s presentation.

The EC makes a quarterly review of countries that it deems to have “significant safety concerns.”

Cusi said the EC-ASC had recognized what the Philippines had done to address its concerns, such as the hiring of technical people, adhering to the minimum “qualification standards” for employees and other related issues.

However, he added that the Europeans also commented that what the country’s aviation body did in the past weeks “are not enough to reverse all the problems we had during the past years.”

To fully comply and meet EC’s demands with satisfaction, Cusi said the EC want assurance that all of the country’s “aviation practices, processes, and our aircraft are safe for the public. It’s more on business processes.”

Cusi added that the 27-member body is satisfied with the presentation made by PAL on what it had been doing to make sure that its operations are up to world standards.

“PAL had shown that the CAAP had complied with the Europeans’ audit and that there are also audit conducted by a third party. They are very satisfied with that.”

Capt. Beda Badiola, PAL senior vice president, said the EC was satisfied with PAL’s presentation.

“We showed them that the inspection process or the re-certification process of the CAAP was a robust thing,” he said, adding that PAL accompanied the CAAP mission to Europe to boost its claim that the audit was conducted properly in accordance with the international standard.

“And we were able to show them that PAL is committed to the safe operations of aircraft and the safe transport of passengers,” Badiola said.

He added that since the “proof of the pudding is the eating,” PAL also invited the EC to come to the Philippines and look into its operations.

“We went there based on their letter of invitation as a matter to exercise our right of self-defense, according to them, so that’s the framework of our going to Brussels,” Badiola added.

He said PAL does not fly to Europe at the moment, but the EC-ASC has not prevented its nationals from coming to the Philippines.

Cusi said his next move is to go to Canada on the last week of the month to convince the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) to return the Philippines to Category 1 status.

The Philippines had been downgraded from Category 1 to Category 2 by the US Federal Aviation Admnistration in November 2007 after the then Air Transportation Office (ATO) received unfavorable review under its International Aviation Safety Assessment.

Despite the passage of a new law that created Caap and replaced the former ATO in 2007, the Icao still raised a Significant Safety Concern on the Philippines last year.

This led to the invitation by the EC-ASC to a conference in Brussels last week.-- Businessmirror

No comments:

Post a Comment