Sen. Grace Poe (4th from left) spoke at the first Aviation Safety Day organized by the AsBAA. Also in photo are (l-r) IBAC director general Kurt Edwards, AsBAA vice chairmen Gary Moran and Phil Balmer, CAAP deputy director general Donaldo Mendoza and AsBAA Philippine chapter chairman and INAEC president Benjamin R. LopezThe Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, through deputy director general Captain Donaldo Mendoza, recognized the role of business aviation in “connecting our archipelagic country” as “for years, air travel has transported people and cargo to their destination in the safest and most efficient way.”
Speaking at the Philippine Aviation Safety Day organized by the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) on November 13, Mendoza said many of the 85 airports across the country are serviced by general and business aviation operators “helping transport VVIPs and supporting industries such as oil and gas, mining and agriculture, among others.”
Philippine airports scored 70.19% at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Global Safety Audit, higher than the 64.85% global average.
Adhering to safety practices
“This means our airports are performing safer than most and are adhering to global aviation safety practices,” said Mendoza, who said aviation regulators and operators are duty-bound to uphold safety and improve safety standards. He added that adopting a separate set of regulations for business and general aviation operations can support the growth of this sector.
Phil Balmer, AsBAA vice chairman, said the value of business aviation is indirect and, therefore, hard to measure. Nonetheless, it affects communities and increases efficiency, hence its vital role in business and humanitarian action.
Kurt Edwards, director general of the International Aviation Council (IBAC), explained that the International Standards for Business Aviation Operations (IS-BAO), launched in 2002 for aircraft operators, and the International Standards for Aviation Handling (IS-BAH), launched in 2014 for ground handlers, are voluntary standards adopted by those who want to improve performance and safety. They require the establishment of a safety management system, or systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures.
AsBAA’s Philippine chapter is headed by Benjamin R. Lopez, president of INAEC Aviation Corporation. He said that as members of the IBAC, AsBAA and all its chapters advocate the benefits of business and general aviation to the country, and aim to uphold international standards for a better and safer aviation industry. Adopting the standards of IS-BAO and ISBAH through local regulations is a positive step towards that direction.
Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Committee on Public Services, also graced the event. Citing the incident on August 16, when a Xiamen Air Boeing 737 skidded off the NAIA main runway, she underscored the need to create a Transport Safety Board that can investigate incidents involving transportation, such as aircraft, railroads, pipelines, highways and marine vessels. She favors the creation of a Philippine Airports Authority, which will take charge of upgrading airport services and facilities to international levels.
Congressman Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation, through his representative, echoed Senator Poe’s call for better infrastructure. He supports “an overall long-term aviation plan,” streamlining the functions of existing and future aviation bodies, setting minimum standards for aircraft operation and maintenance, and ensuring the convenience of passengers.
‘Glad to be here’
Greg Wooldridge, former commanding officer of the Blue Angels of the US Navy, shared how to get to the top 1% of the industry, particularly in terms of aviation safety and performance. He encouraged his audience of pilots and aircraft operators to adopt the “glad to be here” mind-set to break down barriers and promote open communication among team members.
Meanwhile, Major General Allen Paredes, Chief of Air Staff, Philippine Air Force (PAF), talked about the operational readiness of the PAF to meet emergencies and threats.
Aviation Safety Day and Pilots’ Day, held on November 13 and 14, respectively, were made possible by the following sponsors: ACTSI, Embraer, Hawker Pacific (now a Jet Aviation company), the Malampaya Consortium Partners, AON, MedAire, Aerolink, Universal Weather and Aviation, Ascent Urban Air Mobility Inc. and INAEC. (Story/Photos by: Carla Paras-Sison)