After US security survey, NAIA likely to get category upgrade from FAA

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport category status from 2 to 1 next year after a US assessment team inspected the NAIA terminals, the Manila International Airport Authority said Friday.   The US  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspected the NAIA terminals from Nov. 14 to 19 and found its facilities in general compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, said Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).   The five-member TSA, led by Wayne Hall, were in the country for the annual security assessment  inspection.   US Federal legislation requires all airports that have a “last point of departure” to US to undergo yearly security surveys as well as an “air carrier assessment” by the TSA.   According to the “outgoing briefing” that the TSA gave the DOTC, Roxas said the NAIA complies with international standards.”   The inspection covered airport ID processing and access controls, airport security program, quality control program, airport contingency and emergency plans, cargo security, perimeter and terminal access control systems, and passenger and cabin baggage screening system. Satisfactory condition   The annual review covers carriers that have regular flights to the US, including Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Continental Airlines, Fly Guam Airlines, and Philippine Airlines.   “Despite a few specific instances where the TSA found need for improvement, the Philippines was found to be in general satisfactory condition by the TSA.” The DOTC chief said in a statement.   “The favorable result of TSA’s inspection shows that our initial efforts to make improvements in our airport security have been successful.  We are further committed to sustaining these improvements to bring benefits to our local and international passengers and tourists,” Roxas added.   The FAA through the (TSA) downgraded the NAIA to Category 2 status in 2007 because of infrastructure deficiencies, noting lapses in perimeter fencing and lack of security procedures, equipment and personnel.   After the FAA downgrade, Philippine carriers were banned by the European Union from flying to EU member countries citing deficiencies in the Philippine civil aviation system. — VS, GMA News