Philippines’ airlines banned from entering EU airspace starting April 1

All airlines from the Philippines will be banned from entering the European Union airspace starting April 1.

A statement from the office EU Ambassador to the Philippines Alistair MacDonald said the European Commission’s decision came after “the announcement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in October 2009 of a Significant Safety Concern relating to the oversight functions carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and on the earlier downgrading of the Philippines’ safety rating by the US Federal Aviation Administration.”

It said that the decision by the European Commission “reflected the unanimous opinion” of the EU’s Air Safety Committee at its meeting in Brussels on March 17-19.

MacDonald said, “The European Commission has been in discussion on these matters with the CAAP since April 2008, and acknowledges the recent efforts launched by the CAAP to reform the civil aviation system in the Philippines and the steps undertaken to address the safety deficiencies reported by FAA and ICAO. The Commission also recognises the measures taken by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific to ensure the safety of their operations.”

MacDonald added, “In view of the Significant Safety Concern identified by ICAO in relation to the supervisory authority and pending the implementation of adequate corrective actions, including those drawn up in response to our concerns in 2008 but not yet implemented, the Commission considers that the supervisory authority is currently not able to implement and enforce the relevant safety standards, and decided therefore to ban from EU airspace all air carriers licensed in the Philippines until these deficiencies are corrected.”

The Philippines’ government and the national flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) have not issued a statement on this development.