Results Not Setback but Progress

ICAO to end Audit in 2013

November 2, 2012

The Philippine government is bullish with the recent results of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit which found the country deficient only of two Significant Safety concerns (SSC) from the previous 89 the UN aviation body reported few years ago. 

 Malacanang is confident of meeting all the safety concerns over Philippine aviation in time for the final audit of ICAO in the first quarter of 2013, according to Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte. 

“We would not consider this as a setback, because we already have implemented progresses” says Valte in an interview with state-run Radyo ng Bayan. 

"The feedback we have is, we have made significant progress on some of the areas of concern but there are still some things to be done. There is a final audit that will happen sometime in the first quarter of 2013 and we are optimistic that the significant safety concerns can be address in time for the final audit in the first quarter," Valte said. 

Valte remarked that the country's Civil Aviation Authority CAAP) will ensure that measures will be in place when ICAO makes the next audit in the first quarter of 2013. 

ICAO classified the Philippines in December 18, 2009 with “Significant Safety Concern” that requires Universal Safety Oversight Audit for failure to resolve issues relating to air safety oversight.

The UN aviation body created the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP) to address a UN-member country’s capability for providing safety oversight so that the traveling public can make an informed decision when using air transportation.

The mandatory audits of the safety oversight systems in all Contracting States, such as the Philippines, assesses whether critical elements of the safety program have been implemented and identify deficiencies which should be corrected. Follow-up visits are then done to confirm whether the measures were effective.

A final audit by ICAO signifies closure of monitoring activities as it declare a country's aviation safety policy compliant with international standards.


  1. To the Malacanang, CAAP and the DOTC, good luck. Progress is progress, it must be concrete and stubby. Make our Philippine Aviation stand once more even two SSCs remain. The 40 Philippine Carriers is already watching...

  2. By Rainier Allan Ronda
    The Philippine Star
    November 03, 2012

    Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director William Hotchkiss dismissed yesterday reports that the Philippines had failed to pass an audit of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which allegedly found two significant safety concerns in the country’s civil aviation system.

    In a statement released by the Department of Transportation and Communications, Hotchkiss said that the ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) team has not yet made their final audit report, which is scheduled for release in February 2013.

    An initial report is set to be released 15 days from yesterday.

    “This was a premature reading of a report that was given to media, wherein the finding was still going to be provided by the ICAO ICVM team 15 days from now,” Hotchkiss said.

    Hotchkiss explained that the ICVM was still a work in progress and the final report will be made by team leader Henry Gourdji three months from now.

    “A draft report will also be given to CAAP 15 days from now. In the meantime, the ICVM team has given CAAP some items to address between now until the final report comes out in February next year. Members of the ICVM team will come to monitor CAAP’s progress on the remaining safety concerns, which was quoted in media as 89 in 2007 (and) only 2 as of now,” Hotchkiss said.

    “Faultfinders of CAAP will have to review their mathematics upon which they base their conclusions. Certainly, 2 out of 89 is just 2.2 percent. Therefore, 97.8 percent of the significant safety concerns have been addressed already,” Hotchkiss explained.

    DOTC sources said the reported CAAP failure to get an upgrade from the ICAO was a mix-up of the ICAO audit with the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) 2007 rating category downgrade of the Philippines.

    Hotchkiss added that the CAAP team under his leadership is positive that it will be able to address the remaining safety issues before the final ICVM report comes out in February 2013, and the lifting of the European Union (EU) ban is expected after the ICAO Significant Safety Concerns are fully addressed.

    “The FAA upgrade from Category 2 to Category 1 should follow after that. Both EU and the US FAA follow international aviation safety standards set by ICAO,” Hotchkiss said.

  3. 2 outstanding of the 89 is very good progress. CAAP is serious in addressing USOAP findings.

    I know of some State Authorities who did well (level of effective implementation of ICAO standard = 8.5) in the USOAP audit in the middle of 2006-07 and as of 03 November 2012 completed 68% of the 61 findings.

    You can check the completion of findings in the ICAO site.

    Effective January 2013, USOAP will move on to CMA or Continuous Monitoring Approach. By then, each State Authority must have a State Safety Program which requires each aviation document holder (certified organization under the aviation regulatory system) to have in place its own Safety Management System. This is the next phase that CAAP must address.

    I think CAAP is really serious in addressing and completing their corrective action plan corresponding to to the 89 USOAP findings.

    I want Philippine aviation to do well because aviation is important in the economic growth of the Philippines.

  4. There is no "pass" or "fail" in ICAO's USOAP. USFAA has its own aviation safety audit and they grade it as category 1 or 2. ICAO is more comprehensive.

    Take note, US FAA is not the best state aviation safety regulator. The best is Republic of Korea or South Korea - they only have 1 finding and their Level of Effective Implementation is 10.0 (perfect score). The second in Singapore with 3 findings.

    The US FAA's USOAP rating = to that of Canada.

    I hope that CAAP will seek help from South Korea or Singapore. South Korea is infact more advanced than US FAA especially in SSP (State Safety Program) and they developed the technology of filing for SARPs differences which will be used by ICAO and the rest of the world. South Korea is also offering free trainings for aviation authority staff in Asia.

    CAAP can be mentored by South Korea.

  5. This is what's called "Positive Spin."

  6. This was the one big problem from day one. Recertfying pilots. The United States felt that the people doing the recrtfying pilot were not qualified. It takes money to hire qualified personel. In five years same problem. One of these days somebody will come up with more money to hire qualify personel. Then Catagory one will be back. Tan did not care until he had his 777 delivered.Now they are finally doing what they should have done three years ago. Ang will solve the problem soon.

  7. By Marvin Sy
    The Philippine Star
    November 4, 2012

    Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., chairman of the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (COC-CAAP) has filed a joint resolution that would allow the Senate oversight committee to continue functioning for another five years starting March 4, 2013 so that it can tackle unfinished business.

    The COC-CAAP was constituted shortly after the enactment of Republic Act 9497 or the law creating the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on March 4, 2008.

    Composed of five members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives, the COC-CAAP is mandated to review the performance of the CAAP, specifically its implementation of programs and its use of the funds it collects.

    “In order to maintain the momentum of work initiated by the Congressional Oversight Committee on Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and avoid unwanted interruption, the said committee must continue to function in accordance with its mandate set forth in Section 91 or Republic Act No. 9497, as there is an essential need for COC-CAAP to effectively accomplish its mandated tasks and lay down the foundation and structure for the future of our civil aviation,” Revilla said in his resolution.

    Specifically, Revilla cited the need for the COC-CAAP to continue its work with CAAP to address the downgrade of the country’s aviation status from Category 1 to Category 2 by the FAA, the blacklisting by the European Union and the security concerns raised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

    The ICAO cited some safety concerns in its recent audit of the country’s aviation industry.

    CAAP director William Hotchkiss recently expressed optimism that the safety and security concerns raised by the ICAO would be addressed.

    In a COC-CAAP hearing last September, Revilla lamented CAAP’s lack of qualified technical personnel and modern equipment to justify a Category 1 status for the country’s aviation industry.

    “One of the safety concerns is the hiring of qualified technical personnel. CAAP admitted that this requirement is not fully complied with. We are asking them to set a time frame to fulfill this obligation. What we need is concrete measures, not pending promises,” Revilla said during the hearing.

    “Considering the very dynamic, broad and ever-changing nature of the civil aviation industry, the members of the oversight committee contended that the term of five years is not sufficient to fulfill its mandate and objectives effectively, not to mention the economic impact of the aviation industry to the Philippine economy,” Revilla said.

    1. CAAP should hire retired pilots, retired aircraft engineers, retired airworthiness, retired traffic controllers. They must be creative in their recruitment persuasion for these retirees to go back to work. they can work part-time on casual, temporary or contract basis if they don't want a full-time job. Its being done by other civil aviation authorities (we have 78 year-old contract ex-pilot who's doing surveillance for Part 119, 121, and 129 - and he is doing a splendid job). CAAP must not hire technical staff with less than 5 years experience because it is required under ICAO rule that they must have this number of years of experience.

      Indonesia's civil aviation authority was initially in the same status as CAAP, but they managed to get-out of it in less than 2 years. And, to top it all most of their technical personnel (especially pilots) studied in Philippine aviation schools.

      Sometime in the past, South Korea was also in the US' Category 2, and with almost the same problems as CAAP but they turned it around in 4 months. not only that, they managed to exceed the US FAA... and was awarded by ICAO as the best aviation safety regulator...fighting!

      With less politics, CAAP can do it. otherwise, the economic growth of the Philippines will be affected. just imagine if its not in category 2, the economic growth could have been higher than it is today.

      ICAO, and the rest of state authorities are watching - US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

  8. So, only two problems left? Not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing. On the bright side, there's a few left. But on the other hand, they're still not quite there yet. How long will it take them to solve these problems?

  9. Transport Secretary Jose Emilio “Jun” Abaya said that one ICAO personnel is still in the country to complete the validation for March 2013 final assessment of the Philippines Civil Aviation Authority.

    “The validation mission is actually on going up to this time. There is progress, but we still have lots of things to do even if they refer to only two concerns,” Abaya said.

    “ICAO committed us one person to complete the validation process until February,” Abaya adds.

    “What we can realistically expect from ICAO is that they will remove the SCCs after that”.