The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has been invited by US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas to a breakfast meeting Monday to discuss the country's aviation status and the recent lifting of Significant Safety Concerns (SSC's) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which may result in the lifting of Category 2 Status by the United States.
Deputy Director General John C. Andrews said the US upgrade may come this year. However, the call from the US Embassy meant the meeting was urgent. No further details is disclosed.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been quoted earlier that they will conduct independent audit of the country's compliance to ICAO directives.
But the FAA is beset by funding woes due to budget cuts under sequestration effective March 1, which would mean that there might not be audit forthcoming to the Philippines and that the United States might just adopt the finding of the ICAO like their contemporaries in the European Union, or defer audit until next year and no rating upgrade in the meantime. Hard decisions of which will be known Monday.
With the sequestration in effect, there will be no staff to do audit reports and no funds to finance the audit.
Under sequestration, the FAA is required to cut $637 million, or roughly 5 percent, from its $12.5 billion budget. It includes $500 million in consultant fees, $179 million in travel expenses for employees, and $143 million in operating costs for the FAA’s own fleet of 46 aircraft.
The forced spending cuts will also affect most of the FAA's 47,000 employees who have been told to expect one or two furlough days every two-week pay period.
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday that FAA would be cutting $200 million spent on supplies and travel.