Mexican aviation is still in Category 2, said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after conducting the International Aviation Safety Assessment Audit. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government had estimated that the category would be recovered in April 2023. But the FAA cites that Mexico continues to be non-compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. This delay limits Mexican airlines from opening more routes to the US.
"The FAA has not changed the qualification. We continue to provide assistance to Mexico's civil aviation authority," said the FAA after information spread that Mexico had already obtained Category 1 aviation safety status.
"Now it will be up to the FAA to officially issue in the following weeks a final report on the results of the audit, so the Mexican authorities are waiting for the report," reads a statement from the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport (SICT). The notification will be made through diplomatic channels, meaning that the FAA has 30 to 40 days after this Friday to issue its response, which will be made through the Mexican embassy in Washington. This response will be shared with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), which will inform of the resolution. This means that the FAA’s official decision will be known by the end of June or early July.
Mexico is currently one of six countries in FAA Category 2. It shares its rating with Bangladesh, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Russia, Thailand and Venezuela. The Category 2 rank prevents Mexican airlines from opening new routes and services to the US. Furthermore, US airlines cannot promote or sell code-share tickets with Mexican airlines.
Mexico lost its Category 1 air safety status on May 25, 2021, when the FAA imposed limitations on the Mexican air sector and downgraded it to Category 2 saying that international aviation safety standards for commercial aviation were not met. The FAA’s demands include increasing the number of inspectors for certain types of aircraft, updating training programs and modifying the Civil Aviation Law.