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Philippine aviation fails safety review

Originally published on businesstraveller.com 06/11/2012 - Filed under: News »

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Philippine Airlines (PAL) may be looking forward to launching its Manila-Toronto service on November 30, but its expansion plans for serving Europe and the US will have to be put on the back burner.

That is because the Philippines civil aviation authority (CAAP) has failed its latest safety review by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Authority) reports ABS-CBNNEWS.com.

As a result all airlines which are based in the Philippines will continue to remain on the EU blacklist which dates back to 2010. They will continue to hold Category 2 status in the US which was imposed in 2008.

Until the blacklist is lifted, no Philippine airline is permitted to enter EU airspace. Category 2 classification for the US means that PAL can continue to operate its existing flights but it cannot expand by adding additional services or routes. Neither can PAL change the aircraft type it operates when serving the US.

Until Category 2 status is lifted it also means that no other Philippine airline can serve the US.

According to ABS-CBNNEWS the ICAO inspection team found “significant safety concerns” during its ten-day evaluation. CAAP was said to have failed in “aircraft registration and flight safety inspection.”

Before the latest inspection both PAL and Cebu Pacific had announced ambitious expansion plans which would have seen new routes launched to both Europe and the US.

PAL is acquiring a brand new fleet of B777-300ERs which cannot now be used for some of the routes for which they were intended, such as Paris and New York.

It must be stressed that ICAO’s findings are not a reflection on either PAL or Cebu Pacific. Rather they refer to CAAP’s regulation of the local aviation industry.

The next ICAO inspection is scheduled for February next year.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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