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Cablegate: Philippines Moving Slowly On Civair Safety Upgrade

VZCZCXRO6825
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1774 2320857
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 200857Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4941
INFO RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3723
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2939
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6569
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 9933

UNCLAS MANILA 001774

STATE FOR EAP/MTS, EEB/TRA - VIKI LIMAYE-DAVIS
TRANSPORTATION FOR FAA
SINGAPORE AND TOKYO FOR FAA

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON EINV ETRD BEXP RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES MOVING SLOWLY ON CIVAIR SAFETY UPGRADE

REF: Manila 01390


1. (SBU) Contacts in the Philippine Civil Aviation Administration
(CAAP) told Embassy officials August 17 that they continue to
progress on air safety deficiencies in many critical areas indicated
by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Remedying these shortcomings is essential for the Philippines to
overcome the "Category 2" civil aviation safety rating it has had
since 2007. However, the CAAP has not progressed on a fundamental
problem - hiring qualified personnel.

2. (SBU) The CAAP needs to offer competitive salaries for
professionals with specialized skills in aviation safety (reftel).
This includes pilots with extensive experience on commercial
airframes, and skilled technicians who can earn high salaries in the
private sector. The Philippine Presidency and Department of Budget
and Management recently authorized a new salary structure, but it
was lower than the CAAP Board requested. If CAAP cannot attract
enough qualified professionals with the new, somewhat higher
salaries, it will further delay progress towards achieving Category
1 status.

3. (SBU) In 2008, the CAAP postponed an International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO)safety assessment, known as the
Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program. The audit will take place
this October, and will produce a report stating the CAAP's
percentage of compliance with ICAO safety standards. CAAP officials
have given mixed signals about their overall preparedness for the
audit, and did not indicate any revitalized effort as a result of
President Arroyo's discussions with the FAA in Washington in July.
Although we will remain closely engaged with Philippine authorities
on this issue, the remaining hurdles and apparent lack of focus in
the Philippine government make it unlikely the CAAP will achieve the
necessary improvements to regain Category 1 status anytime soon.


KENNEY

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