Home » Aviation, Breaking News » ICAO lifts safety concerns on PH aviation

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recently lifted its significant safety concerns (SSC) rating on the Philippine aviation industry, opening the door for local carriers to expand services in the United States and resume flights to Europe.

In an official communication, the Montreal-based ICAO said “corrective actions taken by the Philippines have successfully addressed and resolved the SSCs identified by ICAO.”

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General William K. Hotchkiss III last Friday relayed the ICAO communication to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who predicted the lifting of the EU ban on Philippine carriers could come in two to three weeks.

In 2010, ICAO identified 89 points of safety concerns in the country’s aviation regulatory framework. In the same year, the European Union used the SSC rating on the Philippines to ban local airlines from operating services to Europe.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2007 also downgraded the aviation industry to Category 2 status due to administrative and technical concerns, which effectively barred Philippine carriers from expanding operations in the United States.

Category 2 status is issued by the FAA to civil aviation authorities of countries that are non-compliant with ICAO standard practices on international civil aviation safety.

The FAA downgrade led to reforms, including the dissolution of the Air Transportation Office, later replaced by CAAP.

“With this positive development, the CAAP will continue to coordinate with the European Union and the Federal Aviation Administration about upgrading the country’s aviation status,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail F. Valte said in a statement.

Last month, in a briefing with CAAP and Department of Transportation and Communications officials, an ICAO team expressed satisfaction with CAAP efforts to comply with international safety standards.

ICAO’s validation mission focused on two critical elements: the certification of airlines in the Philippines and the registration of Philippine-registered civil aviation aircraft.

The other three critical elements — legal, organization and licensing – had been satisfactorily addressed in October 2012, and were no longer validated again by the ICAO team.

With the lifting of the ICAO SSCs, CAAP said it can now focus on regaining the FAA Category 1 rating.

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