President Benigno Aquino is confident that with the accession of Transport Secretary Joseph Abaya, the country’s aviation industry will be able to fully comply with international air safety standards and expand airline operations in the United States.
In a speech at the opening of an aviation manufacturing facility in Batangas on Wednesday, Mr. Aquino said that with Abaya at the helm of the DOTC, the Philippines would be able to overcome its Category 2 classification by the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In 2008, the FAA downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 status for failing to comply with international aviation safety standards. Category 2 prevents airlines from the Philippines from adding new routes to the US.
The aviation industry has been hoping that the FAA would restore the country to Category 1 status, which would certify that it has fully complied with international air safety standards.
Abaya is taking over from Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, who has moved to the Department of Interior and Local Government following the death of Jesse Robredo in an Aug. 18 plane crash.
The President attributed the progress in the country’s aviation industry to two factors: Filipino professionalism and quality work and a level playing field.
“We have done away with the culture of patronage, in which the rules can change on the whims of a powerful few, and have replaced it with a culture that rewards the old formula for success: hard work, perseverance, and innovation,” he said at the launch of the B/E Aerospace facility in Tanauan, Batangas.
He vowed to pursue the same policy in the remaining three years and eight months of his presidency.
“Our administration is as committed as ever to honesty and transparency. We will not misplace your confidence, and we will certainly not betray the trust of our workers, who deserve employers like you,” he said.
The President acknowledged the significance of B/E Aerospace’s setting up the facility in the Philippines, the first outside the United States and Europe.
“This is proof positive that we are truly becoming increasingly competitive. No wonder the World Economic Forum has bumped us up 20 places in their competitive indices over the past two years. Perception indeed is becoming reality,” he said.
Mr. Aquino said the project marks a new kind of manufacturing for the country, this time in the aerospace supply sector.
“Not too long ago, making electric fans was like the extent of manufacturing in this country, and then we lost out to other countries who could do it more efficiently. Now, we are indeed moving up the value chain,” he said.
The facility will build galleys, ovens and lavatories for Airbus and Boeing planes.