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CAAP: No Skyjet flights until safety issues settled

MANILA, Philippines - Despite obtaining a court order stopping its suspension, Skyjet Airlines cannot operate until it addresses safety concerns that led to its suspension, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said yesterday.

“I think it would be better for the airline to comply or address the significant concerns rather than filing (a request for a temporary restraining order or TRO) against the country’s aviation regulator,” CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said.

The CAAP suspended Skyjet and SEAIR International last week following a report by the European Union Assessment Team, which found safety shortcomings covering areas such as management structure, safety management system, accident prevention, flight safety program and flight data management.

Skyjet’s last flight was on May 15 and it has yet to resume flights out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 4 to Batanes, Boracay, Camarines, and Busuanga and Coron in Palawan, according to Apolonio. It also has flights to luxury resort Balesin Island Club in Quezon.

This is the first time that an airline questioned the legality of a CAAP suspension order, Apolonio said.

On Friday, Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 199 Judge Pedro Gutierrez issued a 20-day TRO stopping the CAAP from enforcing the suspension, which the judge described as “premature.”

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The CAAP said its legal department will issue a statement today on the TRO, which the agency has yet to receive.

Skyjet president Dino Reyes Chua said they asked the court to clarify the matter because they believe the CAAP did not give the airline due process.

He said the airline has filed a P20-million damage suit against CAAP officials because of the losses it incurred as a result of the suspension.

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