FAA Downgrades Mexico to Category 2 Country, Blocking New Flights

FAA Downgrades Mexico to Category 2 Country, Blocking New Flights
Joe Cortez

The Federal Aviation Administration says the Government of Mexico is not operating to international standards and have downgraded the country to a “Category 2” nation. Although Mexican airlines can continue to operate, they cannot start new routes while airlines can no longer codeshare with Mexican partners.

The Federal Aviation Administration says Mexico’s civil aviation authority does not conform to international standards and is downgrading their rating. In a press release, the agency announced Mexico would drop from a Category 1 to a Category 2 nation.

Move Prevents Codesharing and Expanded Service from Mexico-Based Airlines

The move comes after the FAA “reassessed Mexico’s civil aviation authority,” the Agencia Federal de Aviación Civil. According to their analysis, the country does not meet the safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization. As a result, the FAA will downgrade the nation’s safety category effective immediately.

While the agency didn’t specify exactly how Mexico failed the International Aviation Safety Assessment process, the FAA notes during the re-evaluation between October 2020 and February 2021, Mexico’s “laws or regulations lack the necessary requirements to oversee the country’s air carriers in accordance with minimum international safety standards, or the civil aviation authority is lacking in one or more areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, inspection procedures, or resolution of safety concerns.”

As a result, the FAA won’t ban Mexican airlines from operating in the United States, but they will be stopped from adding new routes. In addition, U.S.-based carriers won’t be allowed to codeshare on Mexican-operated flights. The situation particularly affects Delta Air Lines, which has operated a joint venture with Aeromexico since 2016.

In a translated statement, the Mexican civil aviation agency said they are committed to working with the FAA to restore the country’s status back to Category 1.

“The review was applied in October, when the AFAC was operating with just a quarter of its staff and in the midst of the major outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the translated statement reads. “However, this agency acted responsibly to address all the observations submitted by the U.S. authorities. Despite the ruling issued by the FAA to reclassify our country into Category 2, the AFAC reiterates that the safety and operation of national airline flights to the neighboring country is guaranteed.”

Mexico Second Country to Drop to Category 2 in Past Year

With the announcement, Mexico is now the second country to fall to the FAA’s dreaded “Category 2” in the past 12 months. In July 2020, the agency downgraded Pakistan to the same level, due to safety concerns that do not meet ICAO standards.

View Comments (4)


  1. Tack

    May 25, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Unfortunately Mexico continues to be a country that is ripe with corruption and lawlessness. In many Americans eyes it continues to be a Third World Country. To share an aviation designation with Pakistan? I’m not sure they’ll be able to return to a Cat 1 country anytime soon.

  2. PointsPanda

    May 26, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Has nothing to do with safety. Obvious money grab from FAA working in cohoots with US airlines to increase margins on flights to and/from the increasingly profitable Mexico market.

  3. mykeeb33

    May 26, 2021 at 11:24 am

    Same level as Pakistan? That’s reassuring!

  4. bigbuy

    May 27, 2021 at 10:26 am

    You nailed it points panda

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