On Friday, Mexico’s federal government introduced several provisions to strengthen the regulatory framework for aviation safety and help the country’s airspace to recover its category 1 status. These changes are part of the measures announced during 2021 to regain the lost rank.
The changes to the Civil Aviation Law include allowing the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) to sanction operators who fail to comply with the terms related to air safety, reads the announcement made by the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB) in the Official Gazette of the Federation. Airlines will need to reinforce the training of their flight crew and flight attendants, which was one of the main points cited by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) when making the decision to downgrade Mexico’s airspace, as previously mentioned by MBN.
The FAA’s Category 2 rating implies that the country’s regulators lack the requirements to oversee the country’s air carriers in accordance with minimum international safety standards. It also suggests that the civil aviation authority lacks in technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping or inspection procedures, among other areas. Experts of the Mexican aeronautical sector said that the reforms to the Regulations of the Civil Aviation Law address the issue of operational safety.
The changes to the training of flight crews and flight attendant crews involve annual programs and new elements in the case of training for flight attendants. The reforms also specify the number of flight hours that crews must not exceed to guarantee flight safety. For example, they cannot exceed 30 hours for seven consecutive calendar days.
The recent changes represent about 80 percent of the requirements that must be met to return to Category 1, as reported by A21. “These are substantial reforms aimed at recovering the category,” Edmundo Olivares, specialist lawyer at Flores, Olivares, Cobián Abogados y Consultores, told A21. “Airlines have to be very attentive to these new provisions to incorporate them into their corporate dynamics to guarantee operational safety, reflecting greater strength for the aeronautical authority, which will have greater strength to have legal support in compliance issues by concessionaires or permit holders, that is, in extreme cases of sanctions.”