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13/07/2011: Ambassador Cuisia Pursues Talks with US FAA Officials on Aviation Safety

Ambassador Jose Cuisia, right, meets with Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Margaret Gilligan, left, at the offices of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

13 July 2011, Washington, D.C. – Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. met yesterday with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, led by Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Margaret Gilligan.  Among the issues discussed were the Philippine Government’s on-going efforts to reinstate the country’s Category 1 status under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) audit program.

“International aviation safety is a top priority of the Aquino Administration,” Ambassador Cusia said during the meeting. The Ambassador reiterated that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), under the Department of Transportation and Communications, is committed to address the significant safety concerns raised by FAA and the International Civil Aviation Organization. CAAP has started recruiting qualified technical personnel since March 2010.

Associate Administrator Gilligan, in turn, noted that the high level of political commitment of the Philippine Government will help ensure the country’s success in securing the Category 1 status. She also expressed hope that the Philippines could potentially serve as leader in regional civil aviation in the future, “showing others how it can be done.”

U.S. FAA officials also said that the CAAP is “doing everything it is supposed to do…with the right people and the right mentality to get the job done.”  CAAP has recently hired a US-based aviation consultant to provide technical assistance and help the country regain full compliance with international aviation safety standards.

In January 2008, the U.S. FAA downgraded the Philippines’ aviation safety status from Category 1 to Category 2.  The “Category 2” status effectively bans Philippine carriers from expanding operations in the US. (END)