The United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has declared that Mexico has now resolved the aviation safety issues which had resulted in the country being prohibited from adding new flights to the US.
The decision to restore Mexico’s Category 1 status came after “more than two years of close work between the civil aviation authorities in both countries,” the FAA said. As a result, Mexican carriers can now add more frequencies to the US, as well as launch new routes. Equally, US-based airlines can now sell and put their flight codes on itineraries operated by Mexican airlines.
“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 regulator added, noting that FAA’s aviation safety experts visited Mexico multiple times to assist AFAC.
Back in May 2021, the FAA announced that it had downgraded Mexico’s aviation safety rating to Category 2. At the time, the regulator stated bluntly that the government “does not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards”.
“During its reassessment of the Agencia Federal de Aviacion Civil (AFAC) from October 2020 to February 2021, the FAA identified several areas of non-compliance with minimum ICAO safety standards,” the agency said. According to the FAA’s statement, the downgraded rating meant “that the country’s laws or regulations lack the necessary requirements to oversee the country’s air carriers in accordance with minimum international safety standards, or the civil aviation authority is lacking in one or more areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, inspection procedures, or resolution of safety concerns”.
Now, following Mexico’s return to Category 1, the countries that remain in the lower category are Bangladesh, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Russia, Thailand and Venezuela.
Recently, Biman Bangladesh Airlines filed with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to begin flights to the US. However, the airline added that it would only do so if the FAA bumped up the country’s safety rating, allowing it to operate its own aircraft on flights to the US.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines expects that it would lose $1 million per week operating five flights to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), on its routes to JFK from Dhaka Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (DAC) via Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB), Turkey.
According to the airline, the flights would still benefit both countries’ citizens, as the carrier would be able to transport passengers, cargo, and general mail between Bangladesh and the US.