GOVERNMENT’S IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO AVIATION DOWNGRADE URGED
Senator Richard Gordon today urged the government to immediately respond to the downgrade which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) effected on 8 January 2008. In its report, the FAA downgraded the country’s rating from Category 1 to a mere Category 2.
Gordon, known as the premier and staunchest advocate of tourism, lamented that, “evidently, the fact that we were given a Category 2 rating is a reflection of our capability to ensure the safety of the flying public. Because we are considered as not having complied with the minimum international standards, the level of trust and confidence of the public will necessarily diminish.”
“If not addressed, this aviation downgrade would eventually reverse the gains which the tourism industry has been painstakingly working for. It should be noted that the number of tourist arrivals has already breached the three million mark and that these tourists have infused US$ 4.8 billion into our economy in 2007.” He emphasized.
As defined by the International Aviation Safety Assessments Program, a rating of Category 1 means that a certain country complies with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with respect to its civil aviation authority’s licensing and oversight of air carriers.
On the other hand, Category 2 means that the country does not comply with these standards and that the civil aviation authority does not provide safety oversight of its air carriers in accordance with the minimum requirements of the ICAO.
Gordon added that “all efforts must be exerted to sustain this growth, which reached 8.7% last year. If the government fails to act in a timely and definite manner to reverse the downgrade, all this will be for naught.”
The Senator further explained that, “We should not wait for this to happen. Neither should we get flustered by this action of the FAA. What we need now is immediate response from the government to exert efforts so that we may again be given a positive rating by the FAA. It is for this reason that we filed a resolution directing the Senate Committee on Tourism to identify the consequences of this downgrade on the tourism industry and to install measures to prevent a possible decline in tourist arrivals and in the tourists’ trust and confidence in our country.” --30--