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Phl to ask Japan, South Korea to lift restrictions on local airlines

MANILA, Philippines - With the impending lifting of the ban on domestic airlines from mounting additional flights to the US and flying to Europe, the Philippines is asking South Korea and Japan to remove the restrictions imposed on local airlines.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has asked South Korea and Japan through separate letters dated March 5 to lift their restrictions that block the expansion of domestic airlines after the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) of the United Nations upgraded its negative rating on the country.

“In view of this development, it is our candid position that this positive report of the ICAO should pave the way for the prompt lifting/removal of any technical and economic restrictions that were imposed by the Japan-Civil Aviation Bureau (and Korea’s Office of Civil Aviation) to Philippine carriers,” CAAP stated in the letters.

The letters were addressed to South Korea’s Office of Civil Aviation deputy director Hye-Ryong Yu and International Transport at Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau director Hirohishi Narahira.

It would be recalled that both Japan and South Korea cited the significant safety concerns rating of ICAO on the Philippines to block the entry of new flights by airlines registered in the country.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) announced Satuday that ICAO has officially delisted the Philippines from its tally of member states with unresolved significant safety concerns.

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In an electronic bulletin issued by the ICAO Council on March 7, the ICAO Council formally stated that the [Philippine] State has implemented corrective actions in accordance with the mechanism approved by the Council to resolve two significant safety concerns – the issuance of air operator certificates and the aircraft registration process – and that as a result, these SSCs have been lifted.

According to the DOTC, the resolution of these concerns has major implications for the economy.

“It not only strengthens our efforts to meet international safety standards for the aviation sector, it also boosts the government’s tourism goals,” the DOTC said.

With the delisting, CAAP could now focus on convincing the US Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA) to upgrade the ranking of the Philippines to Category 1 after it was downgraded to Category 2 in 2008 due to significant safety concerns raised by ICAO.

“This development provides more motivation for CAAP to continue on the long road towards achieving Category 1 status and lifting the European Union ban on Philippine flights,” the DOTC added.

With the lifting of the safety concerns, CAAP could now focus on regaining the US FAA Category 1 rating. Category 2 status is issued by the FAA to the civil aviation authorities of countries that are non-compliant to ICAO Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) on international civil aviation safety.



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