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FAA Restores Mexico’s Air Safety Rating

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Just over three months after the FAA downgraded Mexico’s air safety rating, the agency has restored the rating to the highest level possible. The FAA says “significant progress” has been made in fixing the regulatory issues that led to the downgrade. According to the Wall Street Journal, “It is unusual for a country to regain the top U.S. safety ranking, called Category 1, so quickly after being stripped of that rating.”

The FAA didn’t give specifics at the time of the downgrade, but downgrades generally refer to lapses in regulatory oversight. The WSJ writes, “FAA teams have authority to call for a downgrade when they determine that a country has failed to maintain minimum international standards in areas such as the technical competence of regulators, adequate numbers of inspectors and reliable safety records.”

The downgrade restricted Mexican airlines from establishing new service to the U.S., and prohibited codeshares, meaning existing codeshare agreements had to be temporarily shelved. The downgrade was also an embarrassment for the country, which, between a raging drug war and the lingering effects of the H1N1 crisis, has seen its tourism industry take a hit. Its largest carrier, Mexicana, collapsed a few weeks after the FAA issued its downgrade.

American has added numerous new routes to Mexico in the intervening months.

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