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Aquino cites efforts of Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to improve Philippine air safety compliance

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President Benigno S. Aquino III receives the participants to the 8th Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors’ Tour (ACGTDT) during their courtesy call at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Thursday (July 11). The ACGTDT, an annual project of Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the United States (US) and Canada, offers a unique opportunity for participants from these two countries to visit the Philippines and experience its rich culture and heritage as they tour various destinations and take part in different activities. In photo are Philippine Ambassador to the United States His Excellency Jose Cuisia, Jr., Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr., and Philippine Ambassador to Canada His Excellency Leslie Gatan. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III receives the participants to the 8th Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors’ Tour (ACGTDT) during their courtesy call at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Thursday (July 11). The ACGTDT, an annual project of Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the United States (US) and Canada, offers a unique opportunity for participants from these two countries to visit the Philippines and experience its rich culture and heritage as they tour various destinations and take part in different activities. In photo are Philippine Ambassador to the United States His Excellency Jose Cuisia, Jr., Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr., and Philippine Ambassador to Canada His Excellency Leslie Gatan. (MNS photo)

MANILA, July 11 (Mabuhay) — President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for its untiring efforts to improve the country’s compliance to international air safety levels which has resulted in the lifting of a European Union ban prohibiting Philippine carriers from traveling to Europe.

The President congratulated the CAAP, led by head Director General William Hotchkiss, for a job well-done in his speech keynoting the 8th Ambassadors, Consul Generals and Tourism Directors Tour held at Malacanang on Thursday.

“The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines or CAAP has also been working long nights to allow carriers to offer direct flights from the Philippines to Europe and to more destinations in the United States. Today, I am pleased to announce that they have made stunning progress. It began back in March with the International Civil Aviation Organization lifting the Significant Safety Concerns that they had previously identified in our country,” the President said.

“This led to the very good news we received just yesterday: that the Air Safety Committee of the European Commission has allowed our flag carrier—Philippine Airlines—to resume direct flights to Europe. CAAP has achieved one of its major goals, and I extend my full gratitude and congratulations to its head General Hotchkiss and all who worked to make this possible. Hopefully, this development will give them the extra energy they need to pursue all our other goals in the aviation sector,” he added.

In 2008, the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), acting on a recommendation from International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), downgraded the country’s air safety rating to Category 2 from Category 1 after the CAAP failed to comply with safety standards for the oversight of air carrier operations.

Two years later, in March 21, 2010, the EU followed suit in downgrading Philippine carriers to the same category.

Category 2 means the civil aviation authority of a country does not provide safety oversight of its air carrier operators in accordance with the minimum safety oversight standards established by the ICAO. (MNS)

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