Huge: FAA Expected To Downgrade Mexican Safety Rating

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is reportedly looking to downgrade Mexico’s air safety rating. This would be a huge blow to Mexican carriers and could severely impact a major US airline. The air safety rating is reportedly concerned over Mexico’s oversight of airlines.

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Mexican airlines are set to be heavily impacted if the FAA downgrades Mexico’s safety status. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

FAA expected to downgrade Mexican safety rating

According to sources, Reuters has reported that the FAA will be downgrading Mexico from a Category 1 to Category 2 country on the air safety rating scale. This is in response to concerns from the agency over Mexico’s oversight of its airlines.

Mexico is currently at the highest air safety rating. As a Category 1 country, Mexican carriers are not restricted from adding new flights to the country, nor are they limited significantly in developing relationships with airlines in the United States.

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Carriers like Volaris may have to step on the brakes with their growth plans to the US. Photo: Getty Images

The FAA routinely reexamines and determines new air safety ratings for countries. The agency is well-reputed around the world. Countries strive to remain or get to a Category 1 list to allow their airlines the opportunity to fly into the United States.

Huge impact on airlines

Arguably, the most heavily impacted airlines will be Delta Air Lines and Aeromexico. These two airlines are members of the SkyTeam alliance. More importantly, the two have a Joint Cooperation Agreement (JCA) and an extensive codesharing alliance. The move could impact the airlines’ abilities to partner closely and codeshare on routes. Another partnership that could be impacted would be the Frontier-Volaris codeshare relationship.

Airlines like Volaris, Viva Aerobus, and Aeromexico will be limited from adding new flights to the United States. The downgrade will only allow the airlines to maintain current flights between the US and Mexico.

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SkyTeam airline Aeromexico may be impacted as a result of the change. Photo: Getty Images

Other rating downgrades by the FAA have not had the potential to have far-reaching impacts like this one. However, this would be a huge impetus for Mexican carriers and aviation authorities to get their house to regain Category 1 status.

For customers, this could mean some flight cancelations or rebookings. Until the official result comes in and airlines respond, passengers will need to wait and see if the FAA restores Mexico’s Category 1 status.

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How can Mexico get back to Category 1 status?

If the FAA does downgrade Mexico’s status, it will mean Mexico has some work to do to get back to Category 1. If the issue is oversight, then Mexican authorities will need to work with the FAA to rectify the oversight issues.

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Many new and resuming routes are expected to launch this summer. Photo: Getty Images

Mexican airlines will also likely push for Mexico to get back to Category 1 status. The US-Mexico air market is one of the busiest international markets in the world. In addition, with travel restrictions around the world, Mexico is getting a lot of attention from travelers.

The restrictions could stay for a short amount of time or a long amount. The shorter it stays, the better for airlines. However, if the decision does come soon, it could alter airlines’ plans for the summer, and some passengers may be inconvenienced.

What do you make of the potential downgrade of Mexico’s safety status? Let us know in the comments!