US Downgrades Mexico's Aviation Safety Rating

Move will stop Mexican airlines expanding flights to US as pandemic recedes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 25, 2021 2:50 PM CDT
FAA Cuts Mexico's Aviation Safety Rating
A worker walks past a Boeing 737 Max 9 built for Aeromexico as it is prepared for a flight from Renton Municipal Airport, in Renton, Wash.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

US regulators have downgraded Mexico's aviation safety rating, a move that prevents Mexican airlines from expanding flights to the United States just as travel is recovering from the pandemic. The FAA decision to lower Mexico from "Category 1" to "Category 2" puts it in a group of countries that includes Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Thailand. The downgrade means that US airlines won't be able to sell tickets on flights operated by Mexican airlines, a setback that will mainly hit Delta Air Lines, which has a partnership with Aeromexico, the AP reports. Delta said its own service to Mexico is not affected by the downgrade, and it will continue to operate all its flights there normally.

Delta might have to issue new tickets, however, to customers who used Delta to book a flight operated by Aeromexico. The FAA said it will increase scrutiny of Mexican flights to the United States, but the downgrade does not immediately affect current flights. The FAA found that Mexico’s ability to oversee its airlines falls short of standards set by a UN group called the International Civil Aviation Organization. Those standards cover a broad range of issues including the regulator’s technical expertise, inspection procedures, and record-keeping. The FAA said it reviewed Mexico's Agencia Federal de Aviacion Civil from October through February and found "several areas" of concern.

(More Mexico stories.)

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