President Benigno Aquino, III stressed that the soon-to-be-built Philippine Academy for Aviation Training (PAAT) inside Clark Freeport would be helpful in his administration’s quest to improve the Philippines’ aviation industry to be at par with global standards.
The Chief Executive said the construction of PAAT “comes at a time of transformation as we romp up our efforts to reform aviation in the country. Right now, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is focused on regaining category 1 status under the United States Federal Aviation Administration. A positive outcome will result in the expansion of our airlines’ capacities which will redound to healthier aviation industry mobility for our people and ultimately a more robust and equitably progressive economy.”
Aquino likewise disclosed that his administration is also working on liberalizing aviation “for liberalization programs last year (such as the Pocket Open Skies Policy) posted record growth in both domestic and international air traffic.”
These positive results would directly benefit the tourism sector which Aquino called “one of the low-lying fruits on our economic agenda as each new job in the tourism industry takes on a multiplier effect for it empowers our citizen’s financial capacity, allows local businesses to thrive and creates even more jobs for the rest of our countrymen.”
The $50-million PAAT, which is scheduled to start operations by third quarter this year, is a joint venture between budget carrier Cebu Pacific Air and Canadian firm CAE (formerly Canadian Aviation Electronics).
In a statement, Cebu Pacific President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Gokongwei said, “The school will help enhance the Philippines’ tourism and aviation potentials by producing world-class pilots as well as contribute in the vibrant aviation industry of the Asia-Pacific region.”
Apart from pilots, PAAT is also set to train other aviation workers such as cabin crew and ground handling personnel in the future. (WLB/CLJD/PIA-3)