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Aviation Industry to Be Hurt by Air Space Downgrade: CANAERO

Tue, 05/25/2021 - 16:34

On Tuesday, the FAA downgraded Mexico’s air safety rating stating that “Mexico does not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.” This decision will greatly affect both Mexico and the US’ aviation industry, explains Mexico’s National Air Transport Chamber (CANAERO).

The FAA has downgraded Mexico’s air space rating from Category 1 to Category 2, announced the agency today in a press release. The agency states that it had “identified several areas of non-compliance with minimum ICAO safety standards.” The new rating will allow airlines to continue operating existing routes to the US but forbids the creation of new routes. Also, US airlines will be unable to sell tickets under their name in Mexico. “A Category 2 rating 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 resolution of safety concerns,” reads FAA’s statement.

FAA’s decision to downgrade the Mexican air safety rating was officially announced on Tuesday but unnamed sources had addressed the matter on May 21, as reported by MBN. The US agency had previously discussed these matters with Mexican regulators but failed to reach an agreement. This decision is not rooted in safety issues, claims FAA, but in Mexico’s oversight of air carriers.

The downgrade will severely impact Mexico’s aviation industry, which is already suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemics, warns CANAERO in a press release. The chamber warns that this decision will act as a barrier to the recovery of Mexican airlines and limit trade and connectivity across both countries. CANAERO also added that Mexican airlines are already operating with the highest safety standards and follow international regulations. The association urged Mexico’s Federal Agency of Civil Aviation (AFAC) and the federal government to “take all technical, human and budgetary measures necessary to recover the Category 1 rating and thus, diminish the impact of this decision on the national industry, the jobs it creates and its contribution to the GDP.”

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador addressed the issue during his morning press conference of May 24. “All the rules are being met (...) we have been complying with all the requirements, we feel that this decision should not be carried out because we are up to date.” The president also said that the downgrade may follow desires to help US airlines. López Obrador also said his administration is reviewing the case and claimed that Mexico has met all FAA requirements. 

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