Philippine flag carriers flying high with new FAA rating

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 10, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – American aviation authorities cleared Philippine-based airlines to add more flights to the United States following an assessment that Philippine carriers meets international safety standards.

Philippine ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. announced yesterday that after six years the Federal Aviation Administration has finally restored the Philippines’ Category 1 international aviation safety rating.

That means the US has lifted its ban on new flights from the Philippines to the US, opening up more routes for business and tourism travel between the two countries, according to Cuisia.

Philippine Airlines (PAL), for example, can use new, more fuel efficient Boeing 777s for San Francisco and Los Angeles flights, resulting in $100 million of fuel savings and $60 million of maintenance savings per year — potentially resulting in cheaper airfares.

PAL said it will now renew its Manila – New York – Manila flights within a year.

The Philippine embassy in Washington, DC tweeted that “regaining Category 1 status has been one of the Philippines’ major economic diplomacy thrusts in the US.”

Cuisia said the Philippine embassy in DC has been working closely with FAA the past several years to have this status restored.

The FAA restored the country’s Category 1 rating based on the recommendations from the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) report in March.

Six years ago, the Philippines was downgraded to Category 2 for failing to meet IASA standards.

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