U.S. returns Mexico to top aviation safety status


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday returned Mexico's aviation safety rating to the highest level after more than two years of close work between the two countries' civil aviation authorities.

With the return to Category 1 status, Mexico can add new services and routes to the United States, and US airlines can resume marketing and selling tickets under their names and designator codes on Mexican-operated flights.

The FAA has provided expertise and resources through technical assistance agreements to Mexico's Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) to resolve the safety issues that led to the degradation. The agency sent a team of aviation safety experts several times over the past two years to assist with the work.

The FAA downgraded Mexico's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating to Category 2 in May 2021 after finding that the country did not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.

Under the IASA programme, the FAA evaluates the civil aviation authorities of all countries with airlines that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conduct operations to the United States, or participate in code-share agreements with US airlines. The assessments determine whether international civil aviation authorities comply with ICAO minimum safety standards, not FAA regulations.

To obtain and maintain a Category 1 rating, a country must comply with the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations' technical agency for aviation. ICAO establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

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