The United States Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) upgrade of the Philipines’ aviation industry rating from Category 2 to 1 could happen in September or October, according to Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director general William Hotchkiss III.
At the sidelines of the 1st Aviation Safety and Good Corporate Governance Symposium last Friday, Hotchkiss said a second FAA visit is ongoing and that “all indications are positive towards a possible upgrade before the end of the year.”
The FAA downgraded the Philippines’ aviation rating over the CAAP’s failure to comply with safety standards.
International Civil Aviation Organization regional director for Asia Pacific Mokhtar A. Awan said he is glad the Philippines has achieved its basic safety targets although the issue of sustainability involving all stakeholders still needs to be addressed by CAAP.
“Greater efforts are required to ensure that you continue to sustain previous efforts while building capacity to meet your safety oversight responsibilities in a much more structured and an organic manner,” Awan added.
Meanwhile, Hotchkiss admitted many “hurdles” remain in CAAP’s path, including amendment of Republic Act 9497 or the law that created CAAP.
The amendment seeks to, among others, create an independent government agency to handle aircraft accident investigation and replace the present Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board.
Camarines Sur 3rd district representative Maria Leonor Robredo, a guest at the symposium, said the CAAP has her support for the amendment of the law.
Another hurdle for CAAP, Hotchkiss said, involves recurrent training for inspectors. He said while CAAP has training funds, government accounting rules disallow fund release to train contractual employees, who make up majority of experienced inspectors.
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