EU lifts safety ban on PH airlines, allows commercial flights

By , on June 26, 2015


Philippine Airlines plane (Photo courtesy of Ninoy Aquino International Airport)
Philippine Airlines plane (Photo courtesy of Ninoy Aquino International Airport)

All Philippine commercial flights are now allowed to fly to Europe, after the European Union (EU) lifted its previous ban which sought assurance on the country’s compliance with international air safety standards.

After the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) proved capable of monitoring all Philippine airline companies and ensuring safety measures are met, EU then removed the country’s entire aviation sector from its European Air Safety List.

All the country’s airlines also received a positive review from the five-man EU safety assessment team’s inspection and evaluation earlier this year.

“All airlines certified in the Philippines have been removed today from the European Air Safety List and are therefore allowed to operate in the European airspace,” EU Chargé d’ Affaires Lubomir Frebort announced at a press conference.

“This is truly breaking news since it is the first time that the entire aviation sector of one country is removed from the European Air Safety List,” Frebort added.

Prior the lifting of the ban, only the Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific were allowed to operate direct flights to Europe. Now, AirAsia, AirAsia Zest, Air Philippines, Island Aviation, Magnum Air, Southeast Asian Airlines International and Tiger Airways are also allowed to fly to the continent as well.

Meaning, even smaller and budget airlines are now allowed to operate in the European airspace. These carriers, however, focus more on providing domestic and Asian flights. Still, EU’s decision would benefit them as European tourists now have the option of ‘using low-cost carriers in the Philippines.’

All airlines were banned in 2010. National flag carrier Philippine Airlines was the first to be removed from the list in 2013, budget airline Cebu Pacific was removed from the list in 2014, and all the other seven airlines this year.

“After 5 years of hard work, we are finally able to release the airlines certified in the Philippines from the European Air Safety List. The Philippines is an important country with a sizeable and rapidly growing aviation sector,” EU commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc said.

“Today’s result can serve as an example for other countries which have difficulty to match their safety oversight capabilities with the growth of their industry,” she added.