San Pedro: Bright Prospects-A A +A
Check and Balance
Sunday, March 17, 2013
EVERYTHING had been turning up rosy for the aviation industry in the country with the recent lifting of the Significant Safety Concerns (SSC) issued in 2007 by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the removal of the 3% Common Carriers Tax and the 2.5 percent Gross Philippines Billings Tax and the announcement of Emirates Airlines that it will launch the Dubai-Clark-Dubai flights on October 1.
This, amid the current move of the Aquino administration to further develop the airports in the countryside in a bid to improve service and connectivity. The DOTC had been undertaking the rehabilitation of the regional airports.
What is significant in the development of the country’s aviation industry however is the lifting of the SSCs because local carriers are now capable of launching flights to the US and the rest of Europe. US and European carriers are also expected to return to the Philippines in view of the current developments.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) passed the safety audit conducted last February 18. After over five years of shuttling between the US and the Philippines, the ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) team expressed satisfaction with the corrective actions taken by Caap and that meant the country had been complying with international safety standards as far as the aviation and airport safety is concerned.
Soon, the country will get back its Category 1 status. With the removal of the highly restrictive taxes on foreign carriers, more airlines will soon spread their wings to the Philippines. More airlines are now setting their sights in the Clark International Airport following the footsteps of Emirates Airlines who will reportedly use their 400-seater Boeing 777-300ERs in the daily flights to Clark.
Caap Director General William Hotchkiss said: “We hope that this formal lifting of the SSCs will finally put to rest the lingering doubts of those who may have been misled by false reports that Caap has embarrassed President Aquino and the Philippine government by failing the ICAO audit anew.” “We are very thankful for the support given us by the President and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.”
Now comes the intriguing question. Will the Federal Aviation Authority of the US and European Union allow local carriers to launch flights to the US and Europe now that the Philippines will soon get its Category 1 rating? We are now compliant with international safety standards and there are no reasons now to block local carriers from launching flights to the US and the rest of Europe.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 18, 2013.