WRITTEN on the web site of the newly-formed Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), is its mission, foremost of which is "to provide safe and reliable air transport system and regulatory services, as well as promote the economic viability, develop and regulate the technical. operational, safety and security functions of civil aviation."
But the agency, headed by retired General Ruben F. Ciron, is turning out a bit as inutile as its predecessor, the Air Transportation Office (not the Civil Aeronautics Board as I earlier mentioned). In reaction to the most recent accident of Zest Airways where its Chinese-made MA-60 plane overshot the runway at the Caticlan Airport, instead of grounding the carrier and these planes, it decides to penalize other more professional and efficient airlines instead, by banning two-way traffic at the airport. Click here for the story.
Here's a video at the accident site on June 25, 2009:
Like many government regulations, this is another limp-wristed reaction to a severe problem that has been plaguing Philippine aviation industry – the lack of real a credible regulatory body that would actually protect the traveling public from careless carriers like Zest Air. CAAP should address the issue of Zest Air's use of these Chinese-made planes w/c I repeat, has not even been certified as airworthy by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority. Sure the carrier's not going to fly to the U.S., but isn't the Philippine government supposed to promote the use of international regulations and airworthy standards in the country? After all, even our airports' safety is rated by the FAA.
So what is CAAP waiting for them to actually address this Zest Air problem? That another crash happens and passengers die? (Knock on wood!)
This is a video of another MA-60 of Zest Air which undershot the Caticlan runway in Jan. 2009:
Btw in a web site of worldwide aircraft disasters, there is only one crash on record of the MA-60, and that distinction belongs to Zest Air. (It hasn't been updated yet for the last Thursday's crash.) So obviously, that plane wasn't made for the short and rough Caticlan runway. Indeed, there are some extremely brilliant people on Zest Air's staff who don't know sh** about planes and Philippine runways. I know who they are but let's see if Gen. Giron can guess da who.
BTW, I checked the background of Gen. Giron, and he did lead a colorful life apparently. Accdg. to several sources he is an "Enrile boy" just like Gringo Honasan and Red Kapunan and played a prominent role in the People Power revolution of 1986. A former officer of the Philippine Air Force, Giron's wife reportedly "stopped Gen. Tadiar from bombarding Enrile and Ramos in Camp Aguinaldo" during the People Power revolution in 1986." Giron was a member of the military advisory council of the presidentita when she became concurrent secretary of defense.
With such a background, let's hope he implements more courageous regulations to protect the flying public.