AOPA South East Asia Regional
Summit. February 12th 2010,
Clark Airbase n Philippines.
By Eduardo Loigorri, representing
As part of the Annual Philippines
Balloon Fiesta, AOPA holds a South East Asia regional summit each year to help
promote the interests of aviation enthusiasts across the ASEAN region.
This year’s event, hosted by Captain
Geronimo A. Amurao, (President AOPA Philippines) was themed on updating the
member countries regarding the current environment for General Aviation (GA),
barriers to operation, proposals for better harmonisation and current issues
concerning operators and pilots.
The keynote speech was given by a
representative of Mr Ruben F.
Ciron, PhD.Director General of Philippines Civil Aviation Authority.
Each member country was invited to give
a 10 minuet summary of current GA activity in their respective countries.
special invitation, representatives were present from Switzerland (Adrian Held),
UK (Peter Bish), and Sweden (Charlotte Algotsson and Mikael Potipa)
The main topic of concern in Europe
voiced by all three countries was the current EASA regulatory interference in
aircraft maintenance, and their attempt to move regulatory control of special
interest groups within GA such as gliders and ballooning from national control
to European wide control.
This has caused much disruption, and
added costs, whilst at the same time loosing many of the commonsense concessions
gained by these groups over many years of operation.
The UK representative Peter Bish a
former UK Air traffic controller, and PPL pilot quoted the number of UK
registered private aircraft (including balloons and gliders, ultralights) at
well over 4,000 aircraft!
Philippines: Joy Roa, gave an
overview of the situation in the Philippines. His main concern was the
downgrading of the Philippines CAA from FAA category 1 to category 2, and recent
poor examples of training in the commercial sector. In contrast the private
sector is thriving in the Philippines, which I saw for myself. (This lovely
Beech 18 was still in use ferrying fresh Groper fish from Busuanga to Manila)
Thailand: I explained that the
GA climate in Thailand was to a large extent governed by the attitude of the DCA
Director General towards GA. Some DG’s had little perceived value in GA despite
other examples worldwide. Happily, the current DG K. Vutichai
is a keen supporter of GA.
I gave an overview of the recent
changes K. Vutichai has
implemented to encourage GA in Thailand, explaining that many of the previous
bureaucratic obstacles have been relaxed, and that hopefully Thailand is on the
way to emulating the Philippines.
Malaysian representative said that there had been a recent change in the
regulations regarding foreigners training in Malaysia making it much harder to
obtain the necessary paperwork unless you are resident there. This was seen as
a backward step. In contrast, my own experience of flying in Malaysia has been
very positive. Obtaining overflight and landing permits for a Thai registered
aircraft has been very straight forward, only necessitating the emailing of the
aircraft and pilot’s documents, at no charge for private flights.
commercial operations by smaller operators is thriving in Indonesia, sadly the
same cannot be said of GA, which has had many of its freedoms removed,
especially regarding cross country flights and the ability to land at certain
airports. The treatment of foreign registered aircraft was also discussed with
numerous examples of excessive landing, parking and “security” charges given.
The consensus of the meeting was that
overregulation of GA must be resisted and the positive benefits of GA had to be
promoted as the recent US based AOPA “GA Serves America” campaign has been
striving to achieve.
The standard of training, especially at
commercial levels was to be encouraged to improve.
A commorative certificate celebrating
Philippine aviation was generously presented to all those who spoke, including
myself by Philippines AOPA Permanent secretary Chris Abanes.
World Assembly Dates Set
The 2010 IAOPA World Assembly will be
held in Tel Aviv, Israel 6-11 June 2010. A website providing details of the
assembly will be established in the near future by the host organization, AOPA-Israel.