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Retired Lt. Gen. William Hotchkiss III has been appointed chief of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

The former commanding general of the Philippine Air Force replaced General Ramon Rodriguez who was recently relieved of his position by President Benigno Aquino III.

“Lt. General William Hotchkiss III brings to CAAP his comprehensive air operations experience and proven people management skills,” Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II said. “A staunch advocate of discipline, good work ethic, and prioritizes safety in air flights, he fits the bill in overseeing the operations of CAAP.”

Hotchkiss is expected to solve such problems as congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport runway and regaining the country’s aviation industry Category I status.

“Good governance will be part of my agenda,” he said. “Air security operations are not new to me, but I need some time to fully understand the pressing issues facing CAAP before I can make the right decision to institute reforms.”

Hotchkiss is a recipient of numerous military medals such as the “Top Gun” award in both F-86 and F-5 combat crew training.

His predecessor came under fire for not doing enough to regain the country’s aviation industry Category 1 ranking. Aside from failing to address safety issues, Gutierrez was questioned over the number of consultants he brought in to the agency. At the start of the year, the consultants reportedly numbered more than 120, many occupying sensitive and plantilla positions normally reserved for career officials and employees, according to sources.

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