2020 was a tough year for the world–ending lives and businesses, spoiling plans and opportunities. The aviation sector was especially hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. As human and cargo movement and transport were necessarily halted, the aviation industry continued to positively face the challenges ahead.
As the country’s aviation authority, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) was met with new challenges and circumstances. But despite these, CAAP endured, to serve the Filipino people.
While commercial flights were suspended in the country, CAAP airports remained open and operational to ensure unhampered service to cargo and emergency flights for essential personnel and supplies. CAAP also immediately adjusted to the new normal by adapting and implementing minimum health protocols inside all its airports and by launching the use of TRAZE contact tracing app with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in an effort to simplify contact tracing for flying passengers and unify the nation’s contact tracing system.
Meanwhile, CAAP has also started to digitize its processes by launching online transactions for the scheduling of airmen examinations, application and renewal of airmen licenses, verification of airmen and aircraft records, application for Air Operator Certificates, application for Flight Permits, and securing of medical appointments.
Together with the unwavering support of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, CAAP was able to carry out a number of accomplishments and reach milestones in 2020, including the:
Sangley Airport Development Project (SADP) Inauguration on 15 February 2020, which aims to decongest the increasing volume of air traffic at NAIA.
Office of the Flight Surgeon and Aviation Medicine (OFSAM) Virtual Inauguration last 29 August 2020 – The project was launched in order to improve the aviation sector’s capabilities in providing quality health services for airmen requiring medical evaluation for purposes of licensing—while all along promoting the government’s thrust in ensuring public health.
Comprehensive Air Traffic Service (CATS) 15 Graduation on 6 November 2020 – In support of the ICAO’s (International Civil Aviation Organization) New Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) initiative, the country’s civil aviation authority has been working towards ensuring that there are enough qualified and competent professionals that will maintain the future of the country’s air transportation system.
Freedom of Information (FOI) recognition as Top Requested and Performing Agency in the eFOI portal, which was awarded last 26 November 2020 – For the third consecutive year, CAAP has been recognized by the FOI Awards. This is confirmation of the Authority’s support in advocating for the right of Filipinos to information on matters of public concern.
Advanced Masters in Aviation Safety Management (AMASM) 02 Graduation – The course, which is offered by the Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC), provides Safety Management System (SMS) managers with fundamental tools needed to systematically manage and improve safety in the aviation sector using the system described in Annex 19 of the ICAO Convention.
Under the Build, Build, Build Program, 2020 also saw some of the completed projects in CAAP airports such as the construction of Admin Building at General Santos International Airport, concreting of the runway at Kabankalan Airport, Negros Occidental; improvement of PTB and re-blocking of apron pavement at Kalibo International Airport, construction of passenger terminal building (PTB) / Admin / Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Building at Cuyo Airport. These are just among the many aviation infrastructure projects CAAP was able to complete in 2020.
Several CAAP Area Centers also fearlessly delivered and extended frontline services in their respective regions. CAAP Area 2 (Tuguegarao) served as the “lifeline” of Cagayan during the mega flooding in the province last November, while CAAP-Butuan and CAAP-General Santos spearheaded distributions of relief goods as part of its efforts to support nearby communities during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
As 2020 came to a close and with the pandemic not yet over, CAAP sees to continuously work harder and move ahead in order to ensure the safety, efficiency, and development of Philippine aviation, under the steadfast leadership of DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and CAAP Director General Capt. Jim Sydiongco.