MANILA -- Newly-appointed Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Alfonso Cusi said the country should regain a topnotch aviation safety rating to avert any negative impact on the country’s growing tourism industry.

After replacing retired General Ruben Ciron last week, Cusi laid down three measures supposedly to bring back the country to Category 1 as per evaluation by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

The initiatives include the immediate hiring of 47 qualified technical personnel for the Flight Standards Inspectorate Service and the issuance of an order that will ground air operators who are not certificated by December 1, 2010.

Next is to ask the Civil Service Commission for the immediate approval of the Minimum Quality Standards for the needed technical staff and lastly, heightened surveillance inspection of air operators conducting international flights.

The Philippines suffered a downgrade from Category 1 to Category 2 by FAA in November 2007 after the then Air Transportation Office (ATO) received unfavorable review under FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment.

In October last year, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) still raised a Significant Safety Concern (SSC) on the Philippines.

Both the government and industry players acknowledged that a negative rating from the EC would translate to potential losses to the aviation and tourism sectors. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)