FAA Upgrade to be announce in 2011

But will Credit be to Cusi or to Pnoy?

November 13, 2010


The Philippines is hoping to be removed from the European Union's blacklists of countries deemed to have unsafe aviation early next year as it got all positive reviews from EU inspectors last month.

Inspectors from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)visited the country in October 18 to assess and evaluate the Philippines compliance to safety and regulatory concerns raised last year.

“The Philippines has passed the Safety Audit performed by the European Union Safety Inspection Team.” The regulatory agency said Friday.

“The preliminary audit from EASA confirmed that we are on the right track toward professionalism and solid foundation of the Authority,” said CAAP Director General Alfonso Cusi, who has been under intense pressure to resign from his tenured office.

The Safety Inspection Team from the European Union spent two weeks in the country to assess the new regulations and changes in the civil aviation system.

Cusi reported that the changes instituted by the CAAP received the approval of the EU safety board. Aviation regulators expect the blacklist to be lifted by December.

ICAO Findings

The authority has addressed the most critical issues raised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) during its last safety audit.

Cusi said an ICAO team is scheduled to visit next month and will be told that the government has complied substantially with 87 of 89 deficiencies listed by the ICAO.

The two outstanding items are completion of the training of the new CAAP inspectors, and computerization of the agency, which has been held up as contracts are still under review.

Cusi said since he assumed office in March, the CAAP has closed five substandard flight schools in the country.

Some of these schools, he said, were caught padding the students’ number of flight hours.

The regulator has also canceled around two dozen pilots’ licenses, which the CAAP determined to be unqualified.

With these steps taken, Cusi said ICAO representatives who were in Manila late last month said the Philippines was well on its way to securing a rating upgrade.

Cusi did not say however when the final two problems would be rectified.

CAT 1 Status by Next year

An ICAO team will visit the Philippines from December 7 to 10 to conduct a full technical audit of the CAA. A decision on the country’s rating can be expected about two weeks after the audit is completed.

Cusi said that with the positive EU findings, a favorable outcome of the upcoming ICAO assessment this December is already in the bag.

"Next in line is the Federal Administration Administration (FAA) certification. The next FAA audit will be in the first three months of 2011 and the Philippines is hoping that Status Upgrade will be made after that," Cusi said.

“Once the ICAO lifts the Serious Safety Concerns (SSC)on the Philippines, we expect the FAA to revert the country’s safety category back to “Category 1.” says Cusi.

The ICAO technical audit will focus on the areas of legislation, organization, personnel licensing, aircraft operations, airworthiness and the SSC.

Cusi added the upgrade will pave the way for Philippine Airlines to fly to Europe in 2012, as they will be adding two new widebody jets to their fleet. London and Rome are the choice destination on the list. PAL will also add the long awaited flight to San Diego via Vancouver, and Chicago and New York in the US via Toronto in Canada.

“ICAO will validate the status of the implementation of the Corrective Action Plans that were verified by EASA to have fully addressed the respective protocol questions identified in the findings,” he said.

The United States' Federal Aviation Authority and the European Union's European Aviation Safety Administration both take their guidance from ICAO and serves as its "safety compliance monitors".

CAAP Revamp, a Government Intervention

Reforms at the regulatory agency has been met by intense opposition from various groups whose vested interest has been affected by the on-going CAAP crackdown.

Last week, seven CAAP officials were replaced with what the DOTC said were “more qualified personnel.” The new appointees were said to be aviation industry experts, as claimed by DOTC, yet they were the ones alleged to be responsible for the stagnation of the Philippine Aviation Industry.

Director Cusi opposes the revamp saying that it might be untimely considering that important audits by the FAA and ICAO are set to take place and it might jeopardize the country’s chances for a ratings upgrade.

“It would affect the things we are doing. I need support from the government,” he said.

The DOTC however challenges Cusi's personnel appointment, saying their replacement are more qualified, as they bring to their jobs a “wealth of expertise and experience that are precisely needed to bring our aviation sector to the next level,” according to Undersecretary Dante M. Velasco, of Department of Transportation and Communications.

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.

DOTC also wanted to replace Cusi, an appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and is seeking his voluntary resignation but refused to heed their call on grounds of his fixed term.


  1. Cusi, you may tender your resignation. It is not you who will restore the Category 1 status neither of the present incompetent employees of CAAP.

    Its really hard to admit but you have to accept the fact of the true service of national interest.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Looks Like FAA Will Be Going To Save The Day Next Year!

  4. People in government doesn't really understand the concept of management!

    And whoever said that a manager should come from the aviation business? These People holding undersecretary title in DOTC should READ their LAWS and not just say things from their BIG mouth without knowing what it was.

    Its a pity really that the crackdown affected some untouchables at the transport Agency to the extent that their protected friends in aviation were ease out, thanks to the SSC.

    Did DOTC's ATO achieved what CAAP did in the span of 2 years? I bet not. Because they have done nothing since deficiency were first noted in 1994...

    Ah Politics...Connections be damned!

  5. Give credit where credit is due. Cusi did work hard to get the CAAP to where it is now, and I doubt any of PNoy's preferred "replacements" could've pulled it off themselves. Of course when the time comes that the Philippines is restored to Cat I, it is the replacement who is going to take credit, having done none of the hard work himself.

  6. I dont know who is telling the truth as i got information also from FSIS insiders that the EU assessment team found a lot of findings at CAAP.
    So as to be transparent, Cusi should make available to the public the assessment report so we will know who is really telling the truth.

  7. CAAP gets EU praise for aviation reforms
    November 20, 2010

    MANILA, Philippines — The European Union (EU) has praised the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for the significant reforms it has undertaken in response to the safety concerns raised by the influential bloc.

    CAAP Director-General Alfonso Cusi released on Saturday the findings of the EU Safety Assessment team which was in the country last October 18-22 to assess the reforms made in the country’s civil aviation system.

    According to Cusi, the executive summary released by the EU Assessment Team was a seeming vote of confidence or a move towards attaining the lifting of the ban on all carriers registered in the Philippines flying in and out of the EU.

    The published report cited the CAAP chief’s ambitious and courageous reforms after assuming the post of director-general last April. “The actions undertaken go clearly into the right direction and are deemed to allow, once effectively implemented, for significant improvements towards compliance with the international standards set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

    However, the EU admits that the significant reforms launched by Cusi could not be completed in a few months and more time is needed for it to fully succeed.

    “There is progress indeed, more or less significant depending on the areas; many difficult, but necessary decisions, were taken; more time appears, however, needed to allow the progress to be sustainable and for achievements to be recognized,” the report said.

    The EU also called on the Philippine government to give Cusi the needed support to expedite the actions taken by the CAAP.

    “Support from the government appears, nevertheless, necessary today to speed up and complete as soon as possible the transfer of personnel from the former Air Transportation Office (ATO), provided the necessary qualifications criteria are met.”

    The EU concluded its report by stressing that the CAAP’s actions are positive steps towards a “well-structured and managed civil aviation administration,” but appealed to the different branches of government involved directly or indirectly in the CAAP processes to work towards such goals.

  8. If the Executive Summary Report is telling, We don't know what isn't.

  9. Cusi is also a political appointee by the previous administration, so what else is new. He doesnt have the necessary experience to handle an offce like CAAP and his experience is only on maritime and airport. So, he relies on his advisers who unfortunately doesnt know also their jobs. Whit that, dont expect the problems to go away in the very near future.

  10. The Executive Summary is usually full of polite or diplomatic wordings and should not be taken in its full context. What needs to be look into is the main body of the report and that will show the real score.

  11. The closure of the schools and cancellation of the licenses are just the tip of the iceberg. They are only able to do that to the small fries (for media effect lang), there are still a lot there and some are the big ones. CAAP knows them but they dont have the balls to violate them.

  12. Let us give DG Cusi a chance as he has already started the upgrading of CAAP. Let us also hold him for his promises.

  13. Are guys like the appointees Borja and Basallote not part of the corrupt ex-ATO and now CAAP problem? Both have headed the respective offices previously and failed miserably during the audits of FAA, ICAO. And EU. And now they are called highly specialised aviation experts? OMG how deep has this country sunk!