7 PH airlines may be flying to Europe
MANILA, Philippines–More Philippine air carriers may soon take to European skies.
(Caap) spokesman Eric Apolonio said a five-man team from the European Union will assess the safety oversight system for air carriers and the possible lifting of the ban against seven local airlines which have the capacity to comply with aviation safety regulations.
Only flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and budget airline Cebu Pacific are allowed into European airspace after their safety measures met international aviation standards.
The ban on PAL was lifted in July 2013 after the EU found a commitment on the part of the flag carrier to address air safety concerns.
The EU blacklisted Philippine carriers in 2010 when the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) classified the country’s aviation industry as a “significant safety concern” after the Caap failed to meet international safety standards. Although the Icao removed the classification after finding that Caap had instituted the necessary reforms, the EU blacklist remained.
Apolonio said the primary purpose of the EU delegation, which will be in the country until April 24, is to look into the capabilities of the Caap as well as of the air carriers Air Asia Inc., Air Asia Zest, Air Philippines Corp., Island Aviation Inc., Magnum Air (Skyjet Inc.), Southeast Asian Airlines (Tiger Airways) and Southeast Asian Airlines International Inc.
The EU assessment team, made up of experts from the European Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency, will look into the improvements in safety measures that the Caap and the airline firms had undertaken and could implement for the lifting of the ban against them.
The team will also confirm that the Caap has aptly addressed previous areas of concern pertaining to its oversight function over the country’s air carriers.
The contingent, headed by EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux, initially met last week with Caap Director General William Hotchkiss III and airline representatives.–Jeannette I. Andrade