Pic: AP.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Officials say U.S. 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 found the Philippines now meets international safety standards.

Since January 2008, the Philippines had been rated by the FAA as not meeting minimum International Civil Aviation Organization standards covering its ability to ensure airline safety.

Shares of local airlines rose following the announcement which was also welcomed by tour operators.

Philippine Airlines is currently the only local carrier flying to the United States.