CAAP fails to get upgrade

By Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) - November 1, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Two “significant safety concerns” have dashed hopes of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for an upgrade to Category 1 status for the country’s aviation industry from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Sources said that after a 10-day evaluation by an ICAO team, CAAP was rated a failure in “aircraft registration and flight safety
inspection.”

The ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission told CAAP officials of its assessment in an exit briefing yesterday, sources said.

Team leader Henry Gourdji said an official statement would be sent to CAAP in 15 days.

Comprising his team were Jean Claude Waffo and Sekhat Natarjan Chandr, tasked with evaluating aerodrome ground airfield facilities; Allan Tang, licensing; Vincent Lambottea, operations; and Amal Hewawasam and Kong Cheong, airworthiness.

In 2007, ICAO downgraded the then Air Transportation Office (ATO) from Category 1 to Category 2 status after finding 89 “significant safety concerns” during an inspection.

This prompted a congressional review of ATO’s mandate and eventually the enactment of Republic Act 9497 abolishing the ATO and replacing it with CAAP.

Current CAAP chief retired Lt. Gen. William Hotchkiss voiced his wish for a Category 1 status upon assuming his post in June 2012.

“Hopefully, we might have some good news by Christmas time, (although) I cannot say outright whether we will get into Category 1,” he said.

The Department of Transportation and Communications earlier said only two of the 22 items identified by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) as safety concerns remain unresolved.

These are the lack of qualified safety personnel and the absence of an integrated IT system to modernize the sector’s database.

As the ICAO team concluded its evaluation, nine international and three domestic flights bound for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were diverted yesterday to Clark Airport after NAIA’s VOR (very high frequency omni-directional range/distance measuring equipment) developed trouble for five hours. VOR is a vital navigational aid in major airports.  

Earlier on Oct. 9, NAIA’s VOR also conked out, forcing at least 13 local and one international flight to be diverted to Clark.

Two years ago, the Manila airport’s VOR broke down after more than 12 years in operation. Authorities had to extract Subic airport’s VOR to replace Manila’s.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is reportedly readying the acquisition of a new VOR, which is estimated to cost between P80 million and P120 million. 

Early this year, the government declared it was determined to regain Category 1 status under the FAA after the Philippines suffered a downgrade to Category 2 that heavily affected the country’s tourism.

The FAA downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 in 2008, citing significant regulatory, oversight and management shortcomings that prevented the expansion of air service to the United States.

Later, the country was placed under ICAO’s Universal Oversight Audit Program and on the European Union’s blacklist in 2009.

With the ban, Philippine carriers like Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific were prohibited from flying over European airspace.

Under such ban, the EU can also compel its citizens to avoid Philippine carriers.

The ban also prevented PAL from launching additional flights to the US, using its new fleet of B-777 aircraft.

AIR TRANSPORTATION OFFICE ALLAN TANG AMAL HEWAWASAM AND KONG CHEONG CATEGORY CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES CLARK AIRPORT COORDINATED VALIDATION MISSION DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS EUROPEAN UNION FEDERAL AVIATION AUTHORITY
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with