FAA action allows Mexico to add more flights to US

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Thursday that Mexico’s aviation safety rating was returning to the highest level after being downgraded more than two years ago. 

Restoring a Category 1 status means Mexico can add new service and routes to the United States, and U.S. airlines can sell tickets for and market jointly with Mexican-operated flights, the FAA said in a release

The FAA downgraded Mexico’s air safety rating in May 2021 after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) found that Mexico’s air safety did not meet safety standards. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied that the country’s air travel was unsafe. 

“We feel that this decision should not be carried out because we’re up to date,” López Obrador said in 2021.

The FAA said that over the last two years, a team of aviation safety experts have assisted Mexico’s Agencia Federal de Aviacion Civil (AFAC) with expertise and resources to resolve the outstanding safety issues. 

Mexico was downgraded after failing the International Aviation Safety Assessment, a measure for all civil aviation authorities that fly to the U.S., conduct operations in the U.S. or participate in code-sharing with the U.S. 

To earn a Category 1 rating a country must abide by the standards of ICAO, which is part of the United Nations. According to the release, the assessments determine if “civil aviation authorities meet minimum ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations.”

Countries that currently have a Category 2 rating are Russia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Venezuela and the Organizations of Eastern Caribbean States.

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