Jun 082013
Saying similar accidents also happen even in first-world countries, Malacañang on Saturday insisted the faulty landing of a Cebu Pacific plane at the Davao International Airport should not be a cause to hold the upgrade of the Philippine aviation industry.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda contested claims that the country’s aviation industry is not ready for an upgrade following the Davao airpoprt mishap.

“Ang nangyari diyan, nangyayari rin sa mga first world countries, hindi lang ‘yan sa mga third world countries. Alam natin na may mga aksidenteng ganito na nangyayari rin sa mga ibang bansa,” he said on government-run dzRB radio.

Excerpts of the interview were posted Saturday afternoon on the Presidential Communication and Operations website.

Last Sunday, a Cebu Pacific plane skidded off a Davao International Airport runway and got grounded. The incident forced the airport to halt operations until Tuesday night.

Yet, Lacierda downplayed arguments that what happened showed the Philippines is not ready for an upgrade in its assessment.

“I don’t think that is a one-to-one correspondence. And I don’t think that is proper. The premise would justify the conclusion,” he said.

Also, he said the government has been focusing on different approaches in improving the country’s aviation industry and making a conclusion based on the Davao incident would be irresponsible.

Besides, he said the Philippines is getting commendations for its initiatives in modernizing the aviation sector.

“We are taking the proper steps to ensure that we are going to be out of that category and to ensure that we, the Philippines, will be able to handle international standards in our aviation industry,” he said.

The Philippines is undergoing a review by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and EU Commission directorate general for mobility and transport on the safety situation of its aviation industry.

In 2007, the FAA downgraded the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) because of safety and management issues.

It gave the Philippines a Category-2 status which capped US-bound flights from the Philippines.

The Philippines suffered another blow when the European Union followed suit in 2010, barring Philippine carriers from its airports.

While a Category 2 status does not ban Philippine carriers from flying to the US, Philippine carriers cannot add new routes until all issues are resolved. — LBG, GMA News

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