American aviation authorities have cleared Philippine airlines to increase flights to the United States after safety standards improved.

American aviation authorities have cleared Philippine airlines to increase flights to the United States after safety standards improved.

The U.S. embassy in Manila said Thursday that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s assessment earlier this year found the Philippines now meets international safety standards.

Since January 2008, the FAA had rated the Philippines as falling short of International Civil Aviation Organization standards covering its ability to ensure airline safety. Local carriers were restricted to maintaining existing flights to the U.S. and were barred from establishing new services Shares of local airlines rose following the announcement. Officials and tour operators welcomed the upgrade as a boost to tourism and the economy. Philippine Airlines is currently the only local carrier flying to the United States.

Presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the U.S decision signals “enhanced tourism and economic activity between the Philippines and the U.S.”

    Most Read Stories

She lauded Philippine transportation and civil aviation officials for rectifying lapses in the past and for ensuring that the country’s aviation industry meets international standards.

“For us travel agents and tour operators, it’s a welcome development in terms of creating more package tours,” said JP Cabalza, president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association.

He said tour operators are looking at the U.S. to bring in more tourists to the Philippines, with Americans now comprising the second most number of tourists to the country next to South Koreans.