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Cablegate: Philippine Civil Aviation Update - Icao Audit

VZCZCXRO2476
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2609 3560812
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 220812Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6101
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 3749
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2963
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6628
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 9981

UNCLAS MANILA 002609

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: PHILIPPINE CIVIL AVIATION UPDATE - ICAO AUDIT

REF: a. Manila 01774, b. Manila 01390

1. (SBU) Summary: The International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) safety oversight audit of the Philippines on October 19, 2009
revealed 88 findings and a Significant Safety Concern (SSC). The
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) had to
immediately address the SSC and develop a corrective action plan to
deal with the deficiencies. The CAAP is hopeful that by correcting
the main audit findings, the Philippines will soon qualify for
reevaluation by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in
order to regain "Category 1" status of their aviation safety rating.
End Summary.


2. (SBU) The Philippines was audited by the ICAO team on October
19, 2009 under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme. The
audit yielded 88 major findings that affected 278 out of 987
protocols, indicating a 28% 'lack of effective implementation'
measure. The CAAP is developing a corrective action plan to deal
with these deficiencies. The plan will be submitted to the ICAO for
further evaluation and will affect the Final Safety Oversight Report
published on the ICAO website approximately July 2010.

Significant Safety Concern
--------------------------

3. (SBU) The ICAO team also identified a Significant Safety Concern
(SSC), which required immediate corrective action - the need to
recertify operating carriers according to the new 2008 Civil
Aviation Regulations, and develop surveillance inspections of air
operators and maintenance organizations. Although the CAAP reported
that six international airlines were recertified by early December,
and a remedy plan for the remaining SSC issues satisfied the
auditors for the time being, the situation is not resolved yet. If
the SSC remains a continuing concern, it may have a negative effect
on the European Union aviation audit scheduled for March 2010 and
the U.S. FAA decision to re-evaluate the Philippines under the
International Aviation Safety Assessment program.


4. (SBU) Our contacts say the ICAO auditors were impressed by the
CAAP's preparedness and ability to answer questions, but noted that
the implementation of new rules was seriously lacking. The most
important issue, the shortage of qualified inspectors and technical
personnel, remains a major challenge for the Authority (reftels).
CAAP's prolonged conflict with the Civil Service Commission and the
Department of Budget and Management regarding salary increases and
qualification standards continues to delay progress.

5. (SBU) Comment: Although CAAP officials have spoken of a six to
nine-month timeframe to resolve these issues, most observers think
it will take much longer. Post continues to raise the need for
improved oversight of air safety with private sector and government
officials, most recently with the Minister of Tourism, the Minister
of Transport, and the owner of a major airline. Without timely
progress on improving the "Category 2" rating, Philippine air
carriers could end up on the European Union's "blacklist," which
could discourage investment, damage key economic sectors, and
inhibit growth. End Comment.

KENNEY

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