Manila, Philippines -- The Philippines will get back to Category 1 in three years, but this could be reduced to one year if the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) would heed the suggestions of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).
The ECCP made its own study of what ails the CAAP – which after five years, still remains under Category 2 status – and the findings were forwarded to two Cabinet secretaries for immediate action.
Hubert d’Aboville, president of the ECCP, had suggested the country should outsource certain functions of the CAAP for three years, while strengthening the institution and training a new batch of technical personnel.
He said that Indonesia, which was also downgraded to Category 2 status, had outsourced some of its functions.
“The Philippines now lags behind Indonesia in its program for emerging from the blacklisting,” d’Aboville said.
D’Aboville addressed his letter to Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Mar Roxas and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, citing the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as saying there is need “for urgent action to replace the “vintage” air traffic management system.”
He said that the DOTC has held back the implementation of the Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) despite the “delicate” air safety situation.
The ICAO, he said, has called for immediate action to expedite implementation of new generation of the air Navigation System to meet the requirements specified by the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
“This project – or part of it – needs to be implemented without further delay. If disaster strikes – an air accident – the repercussions would be incalculable for this country and your administration.”
The CNS/ATM is a R10-billion project of the DOTC that has been suspended, pending investigation by Secretary Roxas, who suspects that corruption attended its bidding and implementation.
This program calls for the installations countrywide of radars, satellite communication system and associated technologies to make the country come up with international standard.
We hope that Roxas would finish his investigation and proceed with the construction, or else penalize those whom he caught dipping their fingers in the cookie jar. The CNS/ATM project is much too important for the flying public and the safety of our aviation system to be ignored.
The ECCP also said that since our local airlines cannot expand their operations in the United States, or open new routes while we are still in Category 2 ranking, the group suggested that Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB), Zest Air and others who wishes to operate in the US should instead lease aircraft, rather than buy them.
However, d’Aboville said that if that suggestion is followed by PAL and CEB, there would be a need to amend R.A. 9497, the law that created the CAAP.
Other suggestions include the reorganization of the CAAP into three Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC) – CAAP, Philippine Airports Authority, and the Philippine Air Traffic Control and Navigation Authority.
Source: Manila Bulletin; Views, Comments, Features; 6 August 2012