AIR travel regulators said Tuesday that the Philippines’ main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), passed a security assessment by the Australian government.

The Department of Transportation (DoTr), the Manila International Airports Authority (MIAA), and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) said the airport received a “satisfactory rating” from the Australian Department of Home Affairs (Aus-HA).

“The rating was given after no significant security concern was observed during Aus-HA’s nine-day airport and air carrier assessment together with the OTS National Aviation Security Auditors from 24 February to 5 March 2020,” they said in a statement.

Aus-HA Counselor Cristina Mojica was quoted as saying: “I suggest that there are more mountains to scale to achieve the sustainability that you want, and more importantly, to prevent new vulnerabilities from creeping in. Because they will always be there, and they will always find ways of getting in.”

“In October 2019, at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) general assembly, the states resolved to strengthen international cooperation, to conquer threats to civil aviation through technical assistance and capacity building, consistent with the ‘no country left behind’ strategy of the ICAO,” she added.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said: “This is a welcome development. I am happy that the Aus-HA recognizes the efforts of our agencies to improve safety and security in our airports. Just recently, US-TSA (the US Transportation Security Administration) noted improvements. Now, it’s Australia. Clearly, our efforts are really paying off, and it shows that we are on the right track.”

Last month, inspectors from the TSA declared they were satisfied with improved security measures now being enforced at NAIA.

Airport regulators said NAIA’s terminals had “scored high” in the assessment, which covered airport and aircraft security, aviation security management, landside security, passenger and baggage screening, hold baggage screening, access control, perimeter security, training of security personnel and quality control measures. — Arjay L. Balinbin