FAA December review moved to January

CAT 1 Decision on Schedule for June 2012

November 23, 2011

By Recto Mercene
Business Mirror

The Philippines, eager to return to Category 1 status on the condition of its aviation industry, must wait a little longer—until January 2012—for a review by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt
Nonetheless, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) Director General Ramon S. Gutierrez said the Philippines is ready for the review and is hoping to get the green light for the much-sought return to Category 1 status.

The FAA moved back from December this year its preliminary review for lack of personnel, ironically a similar situation the Philippines was in and one reason it lost its Category 1 rating. The rating allows Philippine air carriers to expand operations in the US.

US Request Postponements

“The FAA initiated the rescheduled technical review due to personnel shortage because of the advent of the holiday season,” Gutierrez said.

The Caap invited the FAA to conduct the review after more than two years of streamlining its operations that included upgrading and improving scores of “significant safety concerns” found in 2009.

The FAA downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 in 2008 after a safety audit in November 2007, preventing Philippine carriers from expanding operations to the US mainland. Flag-carrier Philippine Airlines is at present the only one flying to the US.

Gutierrez said there were high hopes of obtaining the rating upgrade but “audits are very subjective undertakings and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.” 

Cebu Pacific, which hopes to open a route to the US, suspended its plans, waiting for a more favorable environment.

After the FAA, the European Union will conduct its own review and assessment of the improvements made by the country regarding its various functions and activities, involving regulations, issuance of licenses, and streamlining of personnel.

In this connection, the EU added two more local carriers to its blacklist for not complying with safety standards, according to reports from Brussels.

More Philippine-Based Airline Banned from EU

Aeromajestic, an airline company from Mindanao, and Interisland Airlines, a charter service at the Manila Domestic Airport, were included in the list that also has air carriers in Honduras and in the two Congos that are forbidden from flying into the 27-nation bloc.

Aero Majestic, dispatching a twin-engine turbo-propeller YS-11, flew its maiden flight from Zamboanga to Cagayan de Oro City on September 19 this year.

Interisland Airlines operates non-scheduled passenger and cargo air charter services within the Philippines and Asia. Its fleet of aircraft enables the company to fly to anywhere in the country and to nearby cities in Asia. 

According to reports from Brussels, a Honduran carrier and Jordan Aviation were also barred from operating in the EU.

“Safety comes first. We cannot afford any compromise in this area,” said EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas. “Where we have evidence inside or outside the European Union that air carriers are not performing safe operations, we must act to exclude any risks to safety.”  

The EU flight-ban list now contains 273 airlines from 20 countries.


  1. Once CAT-1 Status was achieved,PAL Might Expand Their US Operations And Allow Them To Join Any Of The Airline Alliances (Skyteam,Oneworld Or Star Alliance).Also Once DMIA Premiere Gateway terminal 2 Becomes A Reality By 2013,Cebu Pacific Might Follow Suit As Well By Acquiring Either The A380,The A340-200,The B777 Or The B767-300 By Then

  2. is FAA so stupid and don't have a complete team?