The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has returned Mexico’s aviation safety rating to the highest level, which will pave the way for new services by Mexican carriers to the US.

The move follows more than two years of work between the civil aviation authorities in both countries.

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.

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.

Mexico’s aviation safety assessment

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 United States, currently conduct operations to the United States, 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.

Last year, Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said the federal government was considering creating a state airline.

The new entity, if approved, would be operated by the Olmeca-Maya-Mexica company.Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter

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