Aquino orders CAAP to get PH airlines flying to US, Europe again

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President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Get the country’s airlines off the watch lists of the United States and the European Union, and watch the Philippines soar, President Aquino told aviation officials, on Monday, during the fifth anniversary of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

“In the coming days, weeks and months, all of us will be working toward getting our country off the watch lists of the United States and the European Union,” the President said, adding that when this was  accomplished, hordes of tourists would be flying to the country’s famed resorts, “(ushering in) a golden age not just for Philippine aviation, not just for Philippine tourism, but for the entire country.”

Aquino said the aviation industry suffered “giant steps backward” beginning in 2007 when the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the Philippines from Category 1 to Category 2, preventing the country’s airlines from expanding their flights to and from the United States.

The President said that in 2009, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) found “significant safety concerns” in the country’s aviation standards. This was followed in March 2010 by the banning of all Philippine aircraft by the European Union, which cited “serious and persistent noncompliance” by local aviation with aircraft checks.

“Today, I give you my marching orders. Let’s get this done. We have the momentum; we have the right people and have put the right systems in place. It is time for us to usher in a golden age not just for Philippine aviation, not just for Philippine tourism, but for the entire country,” Aquino said.

He added:  “Soon, all of our countrymen will finally be able to feel the full effect of having a country and a people predisposed to friendliness and fun: In the form of more tourists, more jobs and improved business for our souvenir vendors, tour guides, taxi drivers, hotel staff and those in so many other allied, and even divergent, sectors.”

The President praised the CAAP for installing a Civil Aviation Safety Oversight Reporting and Tracking System as its main database management system, and for implementing the Minimum Required Annual Inspection for all air operators.

The CAAP also revalidated the Air Operators Certificate of five international operators and other air taxi operators and domestic air operators, and established the Certificate Management Department to help local carriers, such as Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, meet international aviation standards, Aquino said.

In view of these, the ICAO lifted the Significant Safety Concerns previously issued to the Philippines, the President added.

“For those of you who have been working for CAAP since its inception and have endured its lowest points, doesn’t this truly make you feel much better?” Aquino asked.

He then reminded the CAAP staff and officials led by William Hotchkiss III how crucial their job has been in ensuring the safety of airline crew and passengers.

“As your President, I encourage you to remember the significance of your responsibilities: That  you are allowing our tourists,  our people and, ultimately, our country to soar to even greater heights. You are making certain that the theme of your anniversary today becomes an enduring truth: that indeed our future is in the skies,” Aquino said.

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  • Hey_Dudes

    Admittedly, it is a tall order from the president. First and foremost our airports really ‘ssacks’. The last article I read about how terrible our airport facilities was from Fodors. Of what use is having white sandy beaches if arriving tourist gets culture shock as soon as they land in Manila? The premier airport has only 1 runaway causing terrible delays. Occasionally, during storms , planes need to be diverted to Clark in Pampanga and arriving passengers are then transferred to buses to take them to their destinations in metro Manila. This will not get us the AAA rating.

    • tadokapurpledaisy

      they could upgrade caticlan airport’s runway para ang mga malalaking planes makaland. kakatakot kasi pagland sa airport biglang preno agad dahil sa iksi ng runway.

  • disqusted0fu

    I wish Pnoy acts as much as he talks. Pnoy talks so much and makes a lot of promises but usually not backs them up with the necessary actions, leaving his promises broken at the end of the day. He exerts more efforts on badmouthing his predecessor and campaigning for his team than fulfilling his promises.

  • Jazzeroo

    Perhaps this plea from the president would be relevant and make more sense if there were no other airlines that fly into this country. Then maybe PAL, as the only airline that flies in and out of this country should get their act together and get their safety standards up to par with EU and US standards or we might as well be like North Korea and be a hermit kingdom.

    The planes I have been on aren’t exactly bursting at the rivets with tourists wanting to experience this country if capacity was an issue. The real random tourists that are on these planes are intrepid travelers who are brave to experience this country considering their own safety, well being and their money is always at risk.
    Let’s face it, tourists and balikbayans are seen as easy marks for extortion, deception and a general source of easy money by most of our own people who have failed to acquire the sense of hospitality and courtesy for its own ends and not as a means to make money for themselves.

    There are of course other issues but that’s a long story, too long.

  • http://twitter.com/CeriseDavid Cerise David

    A golden age for Philippine Aviation, for tourism, and for the entire country. All of that just for fixing local airlines’ ICAO compliance. Wow.

  • billy gunner

    “we have the right people and have put the right systems in place.”

    ibig sabihin ni presidente, nailagay na nya mga tao nya. kkk as usual! lol!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WJE7YIK75NBNAHXBLR7R2DB47Q frank

    pres.. pakitanggal na rin ng mga fixers sa NAIA… . mahal na nga yong terminal fee.. mahal pa ng airport taxi…. hayzzzzzz

    • tadokapurpledaisy

      not only that, the filipino tourist nagbabayad ng pagkamahal mahal sa travel tax and terminal fee.

  • Diepor

    if there could be flights from Europe again it would help. Nobody wants to land in Taiwan or China when going to Philippines. It adds hours to an allready long traveltime.

    • tadokapurpledaisy

      tama and it takes about two to four hours na layover. experienced that with cathay, asiana, eva air and the worst is singapore. you have to fly to singapore first, then to taipei or narita before flying back to the US. Pal usually takes 12 hours from manila to sf or la kaya lang di mo rin mablame ang iba kasi nga takot sumakay sa lumang eroplano.

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