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1 April 2010

EU Airline Ban: Philippines insists carriers meet safety standard

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The Philippines on Wednesday insisted its airlines were safe after the Southeast Asian nation's carriers were banned from flying into the European Union, reported AFP.

"Our aircraft meet the international standards in safety," Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines head Alfonso Cusi said.

The European Commission banned from April 1 all Philippine carriers, as well as those from Sudan, from flying to the 27-nation bloc, according to the European Union mission in Manila.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said its planes were safe. "PAL would like to assure the riding public that safety remains the bedrock of PALs operations," it said in a statement.

PAL last served Europe in 1999 and no other Filipino carrier now flies to Europe. The EU mission said the ban followed the earlier downgrading of the Philippines' safety rating by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

EU envoy Alistair MacDonald said in a statement it recognised measures taken since October 2009 when the International Civil Aviation Organisation cited a "significant safety concern" on CAAP's oversight functions.

"The Commission... is ready to examine any information demonstrating progress in the implementation of corrective actions and compliance with international safety standards," the EU embassy said.

"This support could include an expert visit to review the safety performance of the major operators and the oversight exercised by the CAAP, with a view to reconsidering the operating ban in the near future," it added.

PAL said the European air safety committee has agreed to visit the Philippines this year to inspect both aviation regulations as well as local carriers.

"PAL is prepared for such an audit and is confident that EC inspectors will find a picture of PAL as a world-class carrier of uncompromising professionalism and efficiency," it added.


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