The European Union (EU) has lifted the ban for flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) effective July 12, 2013 allowing it to fly over European skies once more.
PAL was removed from the operational restrictions by the EU known as the EU air safety list following improvements in the safety situation in the Philippines. PAL is the first airline from the country to be allowed back into European skies since 2010.
The delisting was announced during a press conference jointly held by The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines at the CAAP headquarters in Pasay City earlier today.
All air carriers from the Philippines were banned from the EU in March 2010 following very poor results from an ICAO audit in 2009 which led to a Significant Safety Concern (SSC) being issued by the ICAO.
A follow-up audit by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in October 2012 showed some improvements but the SSC was not removed and another one was added. A further audit in February 2013 found sufficient progress, which led to the lifting of both SSCs.
EU representatives conducted an on-site visit between June 3 and 7, 2013 to verify the situation and to provide information that aided the deliberations of the Air Safety Committee.
The EU’s decision was based on a unanimous opinion of the EU Air Safety Committee in which safety experts from each 28 Member States participated, as well as those from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Head of Delegation of the EU in the Philippines said that “There is consistent evidence that direct air connections between countries have a positive impact on business relation. EU-Philippines trade and investment relations will benefit from the lifting of the air ban.”
On the lifting on the ban of the Philippine flag carrier, Ramon Ang, President and CEO of Philippine Airlines, said that direct flights to major European cities are expected to start in October this year.