Philippines to raise standard of aviation safety

The Philippine bid to raise its standard of aviation safety to conform with requirements set by aviation regulatory bodies got a support from Norway, Switzerland, the European Council and the European Commission, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Monday.

Coloma said the four European countries expressed their support during separate bilateral meetings President Benigno S. Aquino III had with his counterparts at the sidelines of the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting being held here from November 5 to 6.

He said the country’s effort to improve airline safety was in line with the government’s advocacy to bring in more tourists and spur economic growth for all.

“Well, we pointed out that we also have a stake in promoting the raising of standards of aviation safety considering we want to intensify the level of aviation activity from and into the Philippines, and this is in consonance with our efforts to increase the number of tourists that will be visiting our country,” Coloma said.

Several countries have banned the entry of Philippine carriers into their airspace after the International Civil Aviation Organization cited the government’s alleged failure to comply with minimum international aviation safety standards.

Aside from ICAO, the United States Federal Aviation Administration has ranked the Philippines as a “category 2” market due to safety considerations.

This FAA grade bans local airlines from expanding operations in the United States.

“Definitely the present restrictions on our Philippine carriers would not promote the increase of tourist traffic between Europe and the Philippines and so we would like to see an early resolution of the concerns of the ICAO and similar bodies like the USFAA which was emphasized by the President of the European Commission Juan Miguel Barroso that these are technical issues involving safety standards and not political issues,” Coloma added.

He pointed out that the aviation sector has taken note of this and are now in the process of “addressing these technical issues and we are moving positively at addressing and resolving all of these concerns.”

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