"The flying is great. The instructors are knowledgeable."
But if our aviation officials do not get their acts together, more than a thousand foreign student pilots (annually) may bring their money elsewhere.
In the course of interviewing 13 foreigners taking up flying lessons for a market study I was doing, I learned that many are extremely disappointed with the delays in the issuance of their commercial pilot's license (CPL). The license is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) --- the new ATO. The delays range from 2-5 months.
All of those interviewed revealed that the reason they chose the Philippines over Australia, New Zealand, and the US was it offered the shortest time for them to finish their course ... at a most reasonable price at that. The urgency is understandable because of the demand for commercial pilots in booming India and other surrounding East Asian countries.
Our flying schools promised 7 months (at the earliest) to complete 200 flying hours with instrument rating, etc. The flying is great according to them. Unfortunately, these past few months, very few get their licenses from the CAAP. Some even have jobs waiting for them back home and when they come back here in the hope of finally getting the CPL ... it is still in the office of the director general ... unsigned!
Dir. Gen. Ruben Ciron is a retired major general of the air force with a clean reputation. Upon his appointment a couple of months ago he said that his first act was to focus on the organization to make it more responsive to the needs of the aviation industry. How long will it take?
After expressing disappointment about the delays, every respondent was asked if they would refer the Philippines to others back home who are interested in flying lessons ... their answers varied, sadly however, it was all in the negative.