Palace gives aviation execs a year to improve air safety


06:12 AM March 22nd, 2012

By: Norman Bordadora, March 22nd, 2012 06:12 AM

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda

Malacañang on Wednesday indicated that there may be a need to review the performance of officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in the wake of the number of problems that still need to be solved before the country can regain its Category One status in aviation safety.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently found 23 “critical elements” that the CAAP needs to solve before the country can shed its Category Two rating given five years ago because of a failure to comply with world safety standards.

President Benigno Aquino III gave the CAAP a year to improve safety measures in the country’s airports.

“We are always concerned, especially [as] we are promoting tourism as one of our growth sectors, and so we would like to harness also the markets in Europe… because . . . our status prevents us from promoting fully our tourism industry,” said Secretary Edwin Lacierda, President Aquino’s spokesperson, in a news briefing in Malacañang Wednesday.

“And so therefore we are concerned about accelerating the efforts to remove us out of Category Two status,” he added.

Asked if there was a need to review the performance of CAAP officials given the FAA findings, Lacierda said, “I think that’s the reason why there’s a one-year deadline given.”

He said, however, that he would confer with the President on the one-year deadline and its implications on the performance of CAAP officials in the wake of the US agency’s findings.

CAAP Director General Ramon Gutierrez said the FAA conducted a technical review of the country’s aviation standards from Jan. 23 to 27.

“The issues mentioned during the technical review were relatively minor issues, and are now being addressed by the agency,” Gutierrez said on Monday.

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