US FAA to work with countries before downgrading aviation safety ratings

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Monday it will work with countries when it sees early indications that civil aviation authorities are failing to meet safety standards.

Previously, the FAA offered assistance only after the country had been decommissioned. Now the agency will be able to work with a country to address developing security risks before downgrading it.

The FAA has said that if it notifies a country of a safety issue, it will limit direct service and codesharing by foreign carriers to current levels while it considers whether to issue a downgrade.

In May 2021, the FAA downgraded Mexico’s aviation safety rating, a move that prevents Mexican carriers from adding new flights to the United States and limits the ability of airlines to enter into marketing agreements with each other.

Over objections from the Mexican government, the FAA has downgraded Mexico – one of the most common international destinations for US air travelers – from a level called Category 1, which stands for compliance with international standards, to Category 2, the lowest level.

The Mexican authorities had promised that the restoration of this classification would be a “quick and easy process”, but that was not the case. The FAA did not immediately comment Monday on Mexico’s safety rating status.

In June, Mexico said it hoped to return to Category 1 in the coming months, after seven meetings with FAA officials, including a review in June.

Earlier this month, Aeromexico CEO Andres Conesa said his expansion plans hinged on the FAA’s review of Mexico’s rating, which the airline says prohibits Mexican airlines from flying. open new links to the United States. “The damage caused by this measure is significant,” said Mr. Conesa.

The FAA said on Monday that 90% of classified countries have reached Category 1 and meet international aviation safety standards.

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