Europe open to air safety pact with PH-A A +A
Friday, November 2, 2012
CLARK FREEPORT -- Europe is interested in developing an air safety agreement with the Philippines once the European Union’s (EU) ban on Philippine air carriers is lifted, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said.
The Vice President said he had a chance to meet with European Commission (EC) Vice President and Commissioner for Transport Siik Kallas during the 7th European Development Days (EDD) in Brussels to discuss the current EU ban on Philippine air carriers.
Binay said that according to Kallas, EU’s main issue with the Philippines was “maintaining the professionalism and regularity of air safety inspections.”
“I informed the commissioner that the Philippines had sought technical assistance from the French government to improve air safety standards, and that Philippine Airlines, which is now under new management, had just ordered 54 Airbus aircraft in line with its re-fleeting program,” Binay said.
The Vice President added that he assured the commissioner that the government was taking the air carrier ban issue very seriously and was already in the process of instituting critical reforms to improve the country’s air safety standards.
“I even mentioned the fact that the Philippines would be receiving an ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization)-Coordinated Validation Mission on October 24 to 28 to assess the improvements made thus far,” he said.
Binay also clarified that the ban applied to both EU and non-EU carriers.
“The commissioner said these bans were not meant to discriminate against non-EU carriers since European carriers were not immune from the same bans if they failed to meet the EU’s strict air safety standards,” the Vice President said.
The EC banned Philippine carriers from operating in all 27 member-states of the EU in 2010.
According to Philippine Airlines, the ban was caused by the United States Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision in January 2008 downgrading the Philippines’ safety rating to Category 2 and “significant safety concern” findings by the ICAO in November 2009 against Philippine aviation safety regulators.
There has been no commercial flight by Philippine-registered carriers to Europe since 1999. (Reynaldo G. Navales)
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on November 03, 2012.