AFAC, FAA Pen New Agreement to Help Mexico Recover CategoryBy Sofía Hanna | Mon, 07/26/2021 - 15:40
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT), through the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC), signed an update to their agreement to strengthen the tasks carried out by the FAA in Mexico. This move will allow the US agency to provide more technical assistance in civil aviation matters and help Mexico’s air space regain its lost Category 1 rank.
According to AFAC, the new model would assign to Mexico a group of US specialists with extensive experience in the application of various standards and recommended practices established in the Annexes 1, 6 and 8 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The experts will visit Mexico starting next August to provide the necessary technical assistance and strengthen AFAC’s work carried in the recovery of the Category 1 rank for Mexico’s air space.
This action comes as a result of the audit of AFAC between October 2020 and April 2021, which led to the decision to lower Mexico’s air space from Category 1 to 2. The downgrade does not affect existing routes but does limit airlines in both countries to open new ones.
The official statement mentions that for SCT, “the recovery of Category 1 in the shortest possible time is a priority, so we have not stopped the improvement actions that will allow us to solve the problems identified by the FAA and guarantee to the aeronautical industry, the population and national and foreign tourism that Mexico is safe in the areas of air transport and airport services.” These changes to the agreement are forecasts that positive results will be obtained in the short term and that throughout the process, said the statement.
Mexico’s air safety rating downgrade:
The FAA downgraded Mexico from Category 1 to Category 2, stating that “Mexico does not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.” This category means “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 the resolution of safety concerns,” said the FAA as reported in a previous MBN article. Mexico’s government announced that it was taking measures to regain the lost rank but this is the first official agreement signed.