Cebu Pacific is expecting a decision from the European Union by the end of next month on its application to lift a ban that prevents the carrier from launching flights to Europe.
According to Julian Vassallo, an EU Representative, Cebu Pacific has already submitted an application to end the ban. “We received their letters in late September explaining that they had addressed the issues,” said Vassallo. “The EU made observations about things that needed to be taken care of such as the management structure of airlines and their procedures. Cebu Pacific has replied, explaining the situation and that actions have already been taken.”
Cebu Pacific confirmed that it had submitted the requirements to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines who endorsed them to their counterparts in the European Union. According to John Andrews, Deputy Director of CAAP, the industry regulator has recommended to the European Union the possible lifting of the ban imposed on Cebu Pacific.
“Cebu Pacific has shown that they have addressed the European Union’s concerns, which include the adoption of a lot of emergency procedures specifically on landing during bad weather conditions,” said Andrews.
A delegation from the European Union arrived in the Philippines in early June to conduct a safety audit. But just prior to the team’s arrival, a Cebu Pacific aircraft was involved in a landing accident at Davao International Airport which forced the carrier to withdraw its original application and review its internal procedures. EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux had then stated that, “the unfortunate accident in June showed some weaknesses that still need to be addressed.”
But Cebu Pacific is now confident that those weaknesses have been addressed and the next step is for the airline to travel to Brussels to make a presentation in mid-November to the European Union’s Air Safety Committee to demonstrate that they have sufficiently addressed any shortcomings.
According to Vassallo, following the presentation in mid-November, the airline will just have to wait for the result which will likely take around 10 days. Last July, the European Union lifted a ban imposed on Philippine Airlines permitting the carrier to restore service to Europe. The European Union blacklisted all Philippine carriers in 2010 after the International Civil Aviation Organization revealed significant safety concerns in the country.
Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines will begin the only direct non-stop service between Manila and London Heathrow Airport on November 4 marking the carrier’s return after a fifteen year absence.