CAAP: ICAO lifts Significant Safety Concerns in the Philippines

A March 5, 2013, press release from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines

The Philippines’ high economic growth under the Aquino administration got an added boost after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of the United Nations officially lifted the significant safety concerns it had earlier cited as requiring urgent solutions from the government. The ICAO cited the Philippines’ “active commitment” and “positive response” in international efforts to upgrade standards in aviation safety.

William K. Hotchkiss III, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), has formally relayed to Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) the issuance last Friday, March 1, of an official communication from the ICAO based in Montreal, Canada that “the corrective actions taken by the Philippines have successfully addressed and resolved the SSCs identified by ICAO.”

“Our economic planners like the NEDA, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Tourism have been awaiting this positive development in civil aviation inasmuch as it opens up to international access the Philippines’ destinations and havens for industries and investments,” added Hotchkiss.

The ICAO, speaking through Mohamed Elamiri, Deputy Director for safety management and monitoring, cited CAAP for “the active commitment by the Philippines towards resolving the deficiencies identified through the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme.”

The ICAO sent an audit team to the Philippines last month in order to conduct a validation mission of the corrective actions undertaken by CAAP that had been identified by the UN specialized agency as necessary in securing the nod of approval of the international aviation community. In the exit briefing conducted last February 22, the head of the audit team Henry Gourdji assured CAAP of its recommendation that the significant safety concerns be lifted.

“We hope that this formal lifting of the SSC’s will finally put to rest the lingering doubts of those who may have been misled by false reports that CAAP has embarrassed President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Philippine government by failing the ICAO audit anew,” said Hotchkiss.

“We are very thankful for the complete support and supervision of President Aquino, current DOTC Secretary Abaya, and former DOTC Secretary Roxas in this very difficult process being undertaken by CAAP,” said Hotchkiss.

Hotchkiss and his team have been in office for eight months after the President appointed them during the term of former DOTC Secretary Roxas who pointed out the immediate need of lifting the safety concerns.