Monday, July 28, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 4 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Safety ruling clears Philippines' airlines to add U.S. flights

By Teresa Cerojano

Associated Press


MANILA, Philippines >> American aviation authorities cleared Philippine airlines to increase flights to the United States after safety standards improved and the European Union opened its skies to the Southeast Asian country's main budget carrier.

The U.S. embassy in Manila said Thursday that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's assessment earlier this year found the Philippines now meets international safety standards.

Since January 2008, the FAA had rated the Philippines as falling short of International Civil Aviation Organization standards covering its ability to ensure airline safety. Local carriers were restricted to maintaining existing flights to the U.S. and were barred from establishing new services.

Shares of local airlines rose following the announcement. Officials and tour operators welcomed the upgrade as a boost to tourism and the economy.

"This is good news for the Philippines," Foreign Secretary Albert F. del Rosario said. "Our flag carriers can now push through with their plans to expand their operations and serve our people in various parts of the United States."

Philippine Airlines, currently the only local carrier flying to the U.S., said it will deploy a fleet of newly-acquired Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for its long-haul flights to the U.S.

The airline currently operates 26 flights a week to the U.S, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam. Chief operating officer Ramon Ang said using the modern jets would save the airline $100 million in fuel a year and lower its maintenance bill by $160 million annually.

Presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the U.S decision signals "enhanced tourism and economic activity between the Philippines and the U.S." She praised Philippine transportation and civil aviation officials for rectifying past lapses.

JP Cabalza, president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association, said tour operators are looking at the U.S. as a source of more tourists to the Philippines. Americans comprise the second biggest number of visitors to the country after South Koreans.

In further good news for the Philippine travel industry, European Union and Philippine officials announced Thursday that Cebu Pacific Air, the country's largest low-cost carrier, has been cleared to fly to Europe.

Cebu Pacific currently has no flights to Europe but the airline's executives have said they plan to fly European routes. It was barred from flying to Europe because it didn't fully comply with international safety standards.

Cebu's chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei said the decision will enable Cebu Pacific "to continue flying to where the Filipinos are."

He said there are nearly a million Filipinos working in EU countries.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 4 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
Hotel wrote:
In the aircraft maintenance business, "the job's not done until the paperwork is done". Philippine Airlines had a "paperwork problem". US airlines had the option of keeping aircraft maintenance records electronically about year 1990. After Al Gore "invented the internet", aircraft records for airlines operating in the US had to available, electronically, in real time, to US authorities. When I certified a Boeing 747 safe for flight, I did not sign the aircraft maintenance papers, I handed the pilot a hard-copy print of the electronic records.
on April 10,2014 | 09:01AM
nitpikker wrote:
with the threat of kidnappings i don't think the phillipines will attract much more tourism.
on April 10,2014 | 09:30AM
samidunn wrote:
Too bad the Philippine government won't let Hawaiian fly to Manila again.
on April 10,2014 | 09:56AM
Snator wrote:
It wasn't the Phil Gov't but Hawaiian Airlines that stopped flying to Manila as they weren't making money on those flights. However, I also wish that HA would reinstate that route again.
on April 10,2014 | 10:22AM
Breaking News
Political Radar
`My side’

Political Radar
‘He reminds me of me’

Bionic Reporter
Needing a new knee

Warrior Beat
Monday musings

Small Talk
Burning money

Political Radar
On policy

Warrior Beat
Apple fallout