CAAP expects EU to lift Cebu Pacific ban by end-2013

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The civil aviation authority of Philippines (CAAP) expects Cebu Pacific to be removed from the European blacklist of banned operators by the end of the year.

The low-cost carrier was "inhibited from the lifting of the EU [ban] due to a recent accident," CAAP's deputy director general John Andrews tells Flightglobal Pro.

He adds that the temporary continuation of the ban is consistent with CAAP's "corrective action plan" for Cebu Pacific.

Last month, a Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 veered off the runway after landing at Davao International Airport, damaging the aircraft's engines and landing gear. CAAP has come out to say that pilot error was the likely cause of the incident and suspended the two pilots who were operating the jet.

"We expect Cebu Pacific to be compliant with the minimum acceptable safety standards before the next council meeting of the EU safety committee in November this year," says Andrew.

On 10 July, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) was the only carrier in the country that was removed from the European blacklist. A blanket ban was imposed on the country's carriers in 2010.

When asked why it was not removed from the blacklist, Cebu Pacific, which has been gaining marketshare over the years, would only say it chose not to participate in an EU air safety commission held last June in Brussels. It adds however that it "hopes to make a representation in another EU meeting later this year".

The low-cost carrier is also preparing for the launch of its long-haul operations this year and had earlier said that it was looking at possible destinations, including parts of Europe.

Meanwhile, Andrew adds that the CAAP is also looking at hiring more aircraft inspectors, to cope with the expected annual growth of 10-15% in the country's aviation industry. The country's two main carriers, PAL and Cebu Pacific, are also increasing their fleet size.

Flightglobal Pro data shows that PAL operates a fleet of 43 aircraft with 65 on order. Cebu Pacific has a fleet of 44 aircraft with 50 on order.