FAA restores top safety rating for Mexico's civil aviation

The FAA has restored Mexico’s civil aviation authority to Category 1 status. 

With the restoration, Mexican airlines can add U.S. routes and frequencies for the first time since the U.S. downgraded Mexico’s aviation authority to a Category 2 safety rating in May 2021. They are also once again free to upsize existing routes with larger aircraft.

In a statement, the FAA said it had provided expertise and resources to resolve Mexico’s safety issues that led to the downgrade. 

Though the FAA never detailed those deficiencies, the agency typically institutes a safety downgrade when the country in question either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee airlines, or its civil aviation authority is lacking in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping or inspection procedures.

Resumption of Category 1 status for Mexico will primarily impact Aeromexico, Volaris and Viva Aerobus. Delta, which owns 20% of Aeromexico and has an immunized alliance with the carrier, also stands to be a significant beneficiary. 

During comments at Delta’s Investor Day in June, Aeromexico CEO Andres Conesa said that upon restoration of Mexico’s Category 1 status, the carrier would initially focus on aircraft size increases for U.S. routes. New routes would follow after a few months, he said. 

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