Air safety concerns in the Philippines cleared by ICAO audit

Singapore
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The International Civil Aviation Organisation has lifted its concerns about the air safety oversight in the Philippines following a recent audit of the country's civil aviation authority.

The Philippine government says it has received official notification from the ICAO that the corrective actions it had taken to address serious safety concerns (SSC) identified during a previous audit had been "successfully addressed and resolved".

The ICAO completed its most recent audit of the country's civil aviation authority in February, under its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme.

The resolution of the SSC is a major step for the country towards achieving Category 1 status with the US Federal Aviation Administration. The Philippines was downgraded to Category 2 status in 2008, after a separate FAA audit found that the country did not meet ICAO standards for safety oversight.

That has prevented Philippine Airlines from making any changes to its services to the USA, such as replacing services flown by its ageing Airbus A340s and Boeing 747-400s with the more fuel-efficient Boeing 777-300ERs.

It also prevents other Philippines-based carriers from launching new services to the USA unless they wet lease aircraft from a US carrier or another operator based in a Category 1 country.

In November last year, low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific received permission from the US Department of Transportation to launch services there, but it will not be able to use its own aircraft to launch services until the country is upgraded to Category 1 status by the FAA.