Mexico regains category one aviation safety status from FAA
18 / 09 / 2023
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has delivered good news for air cargo operators in Mexico as it returned Mexico’s aviation safety rating to the highest level after the country was downgraded more than two years ago.
“With a return to Category 1 status, Mexico can add new service and routes to the US, and US airlines can resume marketing and selling tickets with their names and designator codes on Mexican-operated flights,” said the FAA in a press release on September 14.
The FAA downgraded Mexico’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating to Category 2 in May 2021 after finding the country did not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.
Under the IASA programme, the FAA assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the US, currently conduct operations to the US, or participate in code-sharing arrangements with US airlines.
The assessments determine whether international civil aviation authorities meet minimum ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations.
To obtain and maintain a Category 1 rating, a country must adhere to the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation. ICAO establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.
The FAA said: “The FAA provided expertise and resources via technical assistance agreements to Mexico’s Agencia Federal de Aviacion Civil (AFAC) to resolve the safety issues that led to the downgrade. The agency sent a team of aviation safety experts multiple times over the last two years to assist with the work.”
IATA said it welcomed the decision to reinstate Mexico’s category 1 aviation safety rating.
“The connectivity between Mexico and the United States is one of the most important in the world and contributes significantly to the social and economic development of the country. With the return of category 1, Mexican airlines will leave behind the prior restrictions, which have considerably affected the post-pandemic recovery and ability to grow their service in the Mexico – US market,” said Peter Cerdá, IATA’s regional vice president for the Americas.
Earlier this year, airlines began shifting cargo operations from Benito Juarez International Airport (Mexico City International Airport) to Felipe Angeles International Airport (AFIA) as part of government plans to tackle congestion at Benito Juarez.