The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on May 25 local time announced that Mexico's aviation safety level from 1 to 2, the lowest level. That means Mexican carriers are not allowed to add new routes and flights to the United States during the downgrade, while U.S. carriers are restricted from selling tickets on Mexican-operated flights.
FAA: Mexican airlines did not meet safety standards
The Federal Aviation Administration made its decision after a review of Mexico's Civil Aviation Administration. According to US officials, the FAA's review of Mexican aviation safety between October last year and February this year found more than 20 violations of US aviation safety regulations, but Mexico has resolved only four of them so far.
The FAA ultimately concluded that Mexicana "did not meet ICAO minimum safety standards in a number of areas" and that the authorities "did not have the necessary conditions to monitor the compliance of domestic carriers with the minimum international standards for air safety." "Deficiencies in one or more areas such as expertise, personnel training, maintaining a safe flight record, inspection procedures, and aviation safety solutions". As a result, the decision was made to downgrade Mexico's aviation system to Category 2.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration previously downgraded Mexico's aviation safety rating to Level 2 in 2010 during the Calderon administration, which lasted about four months.
The FAA said it is committed to helping Mexico's Civil Aviation Authority bring the safety monitoring system it operates to a level consistent with International Civil Aviation Organization standards.
Mexico insists it always abides by safety regulations and the airline industry is concerned about the downgrade
After learning of the US decision, Mexican officials called the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday to reverse the downgrade, but negotiations failed, according to media reports. Mexican President Leopoldo Lopez on Thursday asked the United States not to downgrade the safety of Mexico's aviation, saying that Mexico always abides by relevant aviation safety regulations.
The FAA's decision has sparked concern and resentment in Mexico's related industries. Mexico's national association of tourism companies says air travel is facing difficulties as a result of the outbreak. At a time when the first glimmers of recovery are emerging, the FAA's decision to downgrade the rating means that Mexico's airline operators will be unable to expand during the upcoming summer travel season, which will be a huge blow to the country's airline and tourism industries.
Mexico's national air transport industry chamber said the downgrade would have a "serious impact" on the country's airline industry's recovery from the new pandemic and on trade with the United States. In a statement, the agency stressed that Mexican airline operators have been implementing the highest international and industry standards in their daily operations and have made great efforts to recover from the negative effects of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. Downgrading Mexico's aviation security rating would undo those efforts. The Chamber urged the Civil Aviation Authority of Mexico and the Mexican government to take technical, personnel and budgetary measures to restore the safety level to Level 1 as soon as possible.
After the latest rating results were officially announced, the Mexican government said on Friday that it would take relevant measures as soon as possible to restore the aviation safety level to 1. Enrique Beltranena, chief executive of Bolaris, a Mexican budget carrier, reckons the process could be completed within six months.
The FAA's decision has been questioned as having commercial motives
Mexico has long been a popular destination for Americans traveling abroad, and the COVID-19 and the land travel ban have not deterred them from vacationing in their southern neighbor. According to Reuters, nearly 2.3 million travelers flew to Mexico from the United States in April, more than three times the number of the next closest destination. Some questioned whether the FAA's decision had commercial motives.
Armas Maes, vice president of commercial operations at Midas Aviation Consulting, said after the FAA announced the decision that as the outbreak eases and demand for air travel begins to recover, U.S. carriers will increase the number of routes and flights. Downgrading Mexico means US carriers "buy a lot of time".
Source: CCTV News Client