Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sputtering over the Pacific and the Manila Airport

The US Federal Aviation Administration downgrade of Philippine airports due to safety and security concerns came as rude awakening for the Arroyo administration. Air safety is something that cannot be allowed to go below standard. That the Philippine air regulation authorities knew about the downgrade six months ago and didn't do anything reflects the sputtering attitude we have that makes us uncompetitive.

Because of the downgrade,Philippine Airlines is forced to rethink its plans of expanding routes in the US. Cebu Pacific which plans to fly to US territories in the Pacific also plans to reconsider.

Nonetheless the US embassy issued a statement for US bound travelers advising that they take carriers that meet safety standards. This is obviously aimed at Philippine Airlines. But PAL I believe meets stringent safety standards. It is our idiotic air regulation authorities that can't!

But let me comment. US carriers in recent years have pushed safety to the limits in cost cutting measures.

I have been on a US carrier with a red tail whose engines sputtered over the Pacific Ocean! Many US pilots and flight crews have been overstretched and some have made potentially catastrophic miscalculations. Pilots have overshot runways and due to cost cutting try push their luck in dicey landings.

Some planes have only one flight attendant.

PAL and Cebu Pacific crews won't even dare do that!

Perhaps we should advise travelers to take a non-US airline!

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