The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) refuted a report that the agency had failed again in the latest category rating conducted by the US-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“The validation report would be 30 to 45 days from the date of exit briefing. But we cannot make the announcement because of the FAA’s order to wait for their official report,” CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio said in an interview Tuesday.
“We have to wait for the [US] State Department’s announcement,” CAAP Director General John Andrews said in a text message to The Manila Times. “And we do not know when this will come (but) we are optimistic this is going to be positive.”
The Philippines had long anticipated an upgrade to Category 1 from its current Category 2 status, which would allow the country’s airlines to expand flights to the United States.
Andrews earlier said that, “there are no more safety issues as far as we are concerned. This has been confirmed by no less that the EU (European Union) and ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization].”
But a copy of FAA Technical Review dated 20 to 24 of January 2014 which was obtained from a source listed some of the eight critical elements that the FAA have determined needed corrective action.
The FAA’s Flight Safety Service headed by Gregory Michaels cited the failures of CAAP during the technical review.
FAA requires countries such as the Philippines, which have air routes to the United State to pass all the eight critical elements under its checklist before they can be upgraded to Category 1 status.
Among the critical elements that the FAA had mentioned to the CAAP during the exit briefing are:
1. Primary Aviation Legislation
2. Specific Operating Regulations
3. State Civil Aviation System and Safety Oversight Functions
4. Technical Personnel Qualification and Training
5. Technical Guidance, Tools and the Provision of Safety Critical Information
6. Licensing, Certification, Authorization and Approval Obligation
7. Resolution of Safety Concerns
However, the aviation experts cited they have no findings in the areas of specific regulations, organization structure surveillance obligation and regulation of safety issues, which believed that the CAAP had passed in these areas.
The FAA downgraded the Philippine aviation from Category 1 to Category 2 status in 2007 after finding 88 critical elements. The CAAP had addressed 65 of those issues at that time.
The downgrade means the FAA had concerns over the ability of the CAAP to implement global aviation standards, which include security, safety, among others.
The Philippines had passed the ICAO assessment last year and subsequently lifted the ban imposed by the EU.
Late last month, FAA officials John Barbagallo, general manager of Flight Safety Service, and James Timothy Spillane, director of Asia Pacific Rim FAA, visited the country for a safety audit to determine if it the Philippines could be upgraded to Category 1 status.
Andrews has been said that CAAP is confident that the country will get a Category 1 upgrade from the FAA of the United States before the year ends, but the agency been postponed the safety audit for the possible upgrade.
Andrews earlier said that he was willing to vacate his post if the Philippines does not get an upgrade to Category 1 from Category 2.
In 2008, the FAA downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 status for not complying with international aviation safety standards. Category 2 prevents airlines from the Philip-pines from adding new routes to the United States.
On June 4 last year, the FAA agreed to provide CAAP two years’ assistance to make sure that the Philippines would be on track to regain Category 1 status.