Monday, March 4, 2024

US restores Mexico’s aviation safety rating to Category 1

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reinstated Mexico’s Category 1 aviation safety rating more than two years after it was downgraded to Category 2.

The FAA announced the decision in a statement on Thursday, noting that it came after “more than two years of close work between the civil aviation authorities in both countries.”

AFAC meeting
The transportation minister Jorge Nuño Lara (center) received the document restoring Mexico’s Category 1 rating from Andrew Crecelius Villalobos (right) of the U.S. State Department. (AFAC/X)

“With a return to Category 1 status, Mexico can add new service and routes to the U.S., and U.S. airlines can resume marketing and selling tickets with their names and designator codes on Mexican-operated flights,” the Washington D.C.-based agency said.

President López Obrador said last Friday that his government had been informed that the FAA had decided to reinstate the Category 1 rating. He noted that the decision would be formalized this week.

The FAA said that it “provided expertise and resources via technical assistance agreements” to Mexico’s Federal Civil Aviation Agency “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,” the FAA said, noting that it downgraded Mexico’s rating in May 2021 after it found that “the country did not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.”

Interior Minister Luisa Alcalde
Interior Minister Luisa Alcalde at the Monday morning press conference. (MARIO JASSO/CUARTOSCURO.COM)

Interior Minister Luisa María Alcalde said Monday that the recovery of the top-tier rating was possible thanks to “various actions” carried out by Mexico including “some legislative changes” and “the order that is being put in place at different airports.”

Mexican airlines’ inability to add new flights to the U.S. over the past two years is one factor that has inhibited growth at the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), which opened north of Mexico City in early 2022.

Airlines such as Aeroméxico and Volaris will likely add flights from AIFA to U.S. destinations now that they are able to do so.

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