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Philippine carriers allowed to add flights to US after rating upgrade

Dennis Carcamo, Jovan Cerda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Air carriers from the country can now add flights and service to the United States (US) and carry the code of US carriers after the US government's announcement that the Philippines now complies with international safety standards.

The US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Thursday that the country complies with standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and has been upgraded to a Category 1 rating after a review last March of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. ICAO is the United Nations' technical agency for aviation.

The country previously held a Category 1 status but was downgraded to Category 2 in January 2008. The FAA said such status means the Philippines "either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its civil aviation authority– equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters– is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping or inspection procedures."

With the upgrade, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Philippine Airlines can now also increase flight frequencies to and from the US, using more fuel-efficient aircraft.

"This upgrade cements a landmark era in the Philippine aviation sector.  From one major achievement to another in a span of less than two years, the country has made great strides in enhancing its aviation industry to one that is at par with the best in the world,"Abaya said.

"We congratulate the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for a job well done in censuring the lifting of the ICAO’s significant safety concerns, the lifting of the European ban on local airlines, and now, the FAA upgrade to Category 1," he added.

Abaya said the upgrade will have a significant impact on the country’s economic thrust as it will allow airline carriers to open more direct flights to and from the US, which will boost the country’s tourism industry, help airline companies expand their operations, and improve trade and business relations between the two countries.

The US FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment program assesses civil aviation authorities of countries that operate or have applied to fly in the US. The federal agency determines if foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards.

 

ABAYA AVIATION CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION INTERNATIONAL AVIATION SAFETY ASSESSMENT INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION MARCH OF THE CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINE AIRLINES TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY JOSEPH EMILIO ABAYA UNITED NATIONS
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