AsBAA, Asia’s non-profit representative body for the business aviation industry, hosted stakeholders and VIPs, including government officials, at its Safety Day in Manila in November 2019. The event was attended by officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of Philippines (CAAP – ATS), the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and around 220 members of the AsBAA business aviation community.
Chairman of AsBAA, Mr. Zhendong Wu, said, “The AsBAA Safety Days are core to our mission to promote safety best practice across Asia. We advocate the adherence to international standards in Asia, set by bodies including IBAC. We prioritize education on the risks of illegal grey charter and the use of uncertified spare parts. In parallel, AsBAA works with governments across Asia to ensure smoother processes that encourage buy-in and compliance through the supply chain.”
At the event, the second that AsBAA has run in Manila, the Philippine Department of Transportation, through Undersecretary Manuel Antonio Tamayo, shared updates, including its commitment to address the congestion issues experienced by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), by developing Sangley Airport in Cavite for general aviation, turbo-prop and cargo operations.
During his speech, Undersecretary Tamayo shared that the CAAP has improved its rating on the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) from 58.91% in 2016 to 70.19% in 2018, above the world average of 64.85%. In addition, the government announced that it has set an internal goal of getting 75% to 85% safety rating for the 2020 ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) Audit.
In addition, new communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) systems have been introduced in the Philippines to improve traffic flow. To further this mandate, the government announced that it is scheduled to procure ground-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system, an Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) system and ACDM system to integrate with the CNS/ATM system.
Undersecretary Tamayo concluded that “The government will always be glad to welcome initiatives promoting aviation safety. I believe that AsBAA’s Aviation Safety Day will not only create awareness but also effectively communicate the need for cooperation among stakeholders in order for us to remain steadfast in improving the Philippines ’standing in the international aviation community. The Philippines has 86 airports, many of which are serviced by general and business aviation operators, helping transport VVIPs and supporting industries such as oil and gas, mining, and agriculture among others. It is, therefore, worthy to recognize general aviation’s contribution to the economy and the aviation industry.”
The AsBAA Philippine Safety Day also addressed a high-agenda item for AsBAA, sustainability. Kurt Edwards, Secretary General of IBAC, said, “The biggest and most important technology to reduce our aviation carbon footprint is through Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Technology is available now and can be dropped into current aircrafts. It works. We have seen five different pathways certified by ASTM, that is feedstock neutral. Non-petroleum-based feedstock to create this fuel is available, provided standards are followed.”
During a panel session on the risks of illegal or “grey” charters, Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla of the Philippine CAB said that “Grey charter is dangerous. It undermines the industry, jeopardizes the safety and welfare of the public. It also compromises the business of legal charters because these illegal operators can undercut the regular operator’s prices, yet they do not undergo the tedious process of certification.”
The issue of Grey Charters has been central to AsBAA’s series of Safety Day events, which take place across Greater China and Southeast Asia. Grey Charters cause significant risks to the industry’s safety and general compliance, an issue which AsBAA has been tackling since the launch of the Safety Days in 2016.
Other presentations raised issues, including those relating to Emergency Response Planning and Safety Culture. Former Vice-Chairman of AsBAA, Gary Moran, said, “Safety is very important for underwriters especially in a hard market environment; it’s key to ensuring long-term stability.” Fabio Bonnet, Embraer, a continuous supporter of the AsBAA Safety Days, spoke of the need for complete adherence to safety practices while relying on one’s personal values, experience and training when flying.
Arlene Gentica, Safety Management System/Safety Manager for Traffic Service at CAAP, added “The Philippines, through CAAP’s transition to CNS-ATM System, is the first country among Thales subscribers in Southeast Asia, to shift from “paper strip” to “strip-less” environment in the management of air traffic.”
In his keynote, “How Do You know You Are Safe?,” Randy Gaston, former Vice President for Operations of Gulfstream, shared that simplicity is key to maintaining safety in aviation. He said, “It’s not the complex stuff that kills us; it’s the simple stuff. Safety starts from running the checklists and going through the everyday things. Uncertainty is always present. Constant vigilance is always required.”
The AsBAA Philippine Safety Day concluded with a networking event hosted by its sponsor, INAEC Aviation Corporation. The event was sponsored by Embraer Executive Jets, World Fuel Services, Jet Aviation, Aon, ACTSI, Airbus, MedAire, Omni Aviation, Arayat Aero Club, and Universal Entertainment.