FAA Slaps Mexico with Category 2 Rating: No New Flights to the U.S.

June 7, 2021

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a 'Category 2' safety rating to airlines based in Mexico for not meeting 'International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards'.

'Category 1' is the standard 'top' rating whereby an airline meets the highest (and expected) safety protocols.

Mexican airlines cannot add new service or routes to the U.S. Furthermore, U.S. airlines cannot use 'code sharing', a popular practice whereby Mexican airlines operate flights bearing a U.S. carrier's name.

Not the best look.

Mexican Air Carriers Were Found to Be Non-Compliant on Several 'Safety Concerns'

The FAA deemed that the Agencia Federal de Aviacion Civil (AFAC) failed to oversee international safety standards to the appropriate level and that they may lack in one or more areas such as 'technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, inspection procedures, or resolution of safety concerns'.

The assessment took place from October 2020 to February 2021.

Delta the Most Affected via its Codeshare with Aeromexico

Delta Airlines operates literally thousands of flights a month with Aeromexico and owns nearly 50% of the Mexican carrier.

Delta President Glen Hauenstein has come out and said they (delta) are completely confident in Aeromexico and that they are safe:

“We believe Aeromexico is incredibly safe."

“We have no issue with the safety of Aeromexico itself.”

He also seemed to take a stab at Mexican aviation authorities...“This is about the Mexican version of the FAA having some of the right protocols in place.”

Is This an Opportunity for U.S. Carriers?

Ben Baldanza (former CEO of Spirit Airlines) thinks that may be the case:

"While Mexican airlines are now not able to add or grow service into the U.S., Mexico has put no such limits on U.S. airlines."
"Mexico’s largest airline, Volaris, keeps fares low and their growth into the U.S. is curtailed during this designation."

Bottom Line: Will Flights Be Affected?

In a word: No.

This is not the first time (and certainly not the last) an aviation safety body has been downgraded. It is often a preemptive measure to prod the 'offender' to clean up their act.

But who oversees the overseer? That's for another post...

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