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Cablegate: Israel Civair: Goi Notified of Cat 2 Status

P 181454Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9678
FAA EASTERN RGN HQ JAMAICA NY PRIORITY
FAA EUROPE AFRICA MID EAST RGN HQ BRUSSELS BE PRIORITY
FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
INFO DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002840


BRUSSELS FOR TFAZIO
ABU DHABI FOR FAA REP
FAA FOR AFS-50/API/ACG-7
STATE FOR EEB/TRA DMOORE,JBYERLY,KGUSTAVSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON IS
SUBJECT: ISRAEL CIVAIR: GOI NOTIFIED OF CAT 2 STATUS

REF: STATE 129874

1. (U) SUMMARY: Post notified Director-General of the Civil
Aviation Authority (CAA) Giora Romm on Thursday, December 18
of the Federal Aviation Authority's findings and the
designation of Israel as Category 2, Not in Compliance with
international standards for aviation safety oversight under
the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA). The
letter in reftel was also given to DG Romm. Romm reported to
Econcouns on his recent trip to Washington DC, where he met
with several Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) key players and
attended a two-day conference on international civil
aviation. In addition, he also updated Post of the GOI's
recent efforts to address the Category 2 rating, including
some recent draft legislation that was passed in the Knesset
to form an interministerial committee to empower the CAA and
expand its budgetary authority. Romm seemed to imply that he
was not seeking to resign from his post as Director-General,
alluding to rumors of his departure during the upcoming
transition in the Israeli government. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Econcouns met with DG of the CAA Giora Romm on
December 18 to present the letter from FAA Director of Flight
Standards Service James J. Ballough that alerted Israel to
the official designation as a Category 2 country. After Romm
said that he accepted the letter and its conclusion, he
reported on his recent trip to Washington DC to attend an
FAA-sponsored conference on international civil aviation and
on his meetings with key FAA contacts, in addition to
meetings with Department of State and Transport. Romm
described the visit as "educational" and stated that he saw
the FAA and the CAA as partners. He was pleased that the FAA
would be spending considerable time in Israel and mentioned
that there were already plans for FAA training in January.

3. (U) Romm also detailed his latest efforts to address the
civil aviation situation in Israel, including bringing in
three outside experts who would be solely dedicated to
working on the IASA. He had a small concern regarding
whether the Ministry of Transport would agree to his choices
for future hires without a public tendering process that
could take significant time and delay their recruitment.
Romm also reported on two government resolutions that were
passed in the Knesset in the beginning of December: one
stipulating that by February 1, 2009 an interministerial
committee would be formed to strengthen the CAA and expand
its authority; and the other that would allow the CAA to
recruit employees and handle its own budgetary resources.

4. (U) COMMENT: Romm seems quite capable and well-informed of
the challenges that lie ahead to improve Israel's CAA and
aviation in general. He told Econcouns that he had formed a
committee to deal with the contentious Israeli issue of
airspace allocation between the Israeli Air Force and Civil
Aviation, and was already at work on dealing with regulation
of Israel's Unmanned Aviation Vehicles (UAVs), which
represents 15 per cent of the world's market. Romm seemed
aware of rumors that he would leave his post with the
changeover in the GOI, but emphasized to Econcouns that
disturbing the continuity of the CAA at this point would not
be in any political party's favor, since aviation safety was
so important. Post believes that with continued close
working relations between the CAA and FAA, in addition to
positive encouragement, Romm will be able to improve the
aviation situation in Israel and enact the necessary changes.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************


CUNNINGHAM

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