“WE have prepared for it.”
This was the only comment made by SEAIR International Inc. (Seair-I), one of the seven domestic carriers still barred from flying to Europe which are currently the subject of a review by a safety assessment team from the European Union (EU).
In a text message to The Manila Times, Seair-I president and chief executive officer Avelino Zapanta said: “We are among the seven airlines being audited. I cannot comment except to say we have prepared for it.”
The EU team will be in the country until April 24 to reassess its ban on Asian airlines, including those in the Philippines. At present, only Philippine Airlines (PAL) and budget carrier Cebu Pacific have been taken off the list.
On Thursday, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General William Hotchkiss 3rd met with the EU team which was accompanied by EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux.
In July 2013, the EU allowed PAL to resume flights to Europe after banning it from European airspace for almost three years. Cebu Pacific exited the list of airlines banned from operating in EU member-countries in April last year.
The EU team now in the country will assess the capabilities of the CAAP and air carriers Air Asia Inc., Air Asia Zest, Air Philippines Corporation, Island Aviation Inc., Magnum Air, South East Asian Airlines and Seair-I, with the view to finding out if any measures still in place under the current operating ban could be mitigated.
The ongoing safety assessment is being conducted by experts from the European Commission, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and member states of the European Union headed by team leader Captain Richard Miller together with Per-Erik Oberg, Vincent Lambotte, Sebastian Zacharias and Mureil Belzunce.
Sought for comment, AirAsia said in a text message that it could not comment at this time because of the ongoing audit, but added that they will give a statement after the EASA review.
The EU safety review will seek to confirm that the CAAP has addressed the root causes of previous areas of concerns and is able to conduct effective oversight of air carriers certified in the Philippines.
“Safety assessment on going until April 24 and hopefully all candidates hurdle compliance,” Hotchkiss said in a text message.