- Associated Press - Thursday, December 2, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mexico’s top aviation safety rating has been restored because its airline oversight has improved, U.S. aviation officials said Wednesday.

A review last month by the Federal Aviation Administration of Mexico’s civil aviation authority found that it now complies with international standards, FAA said in a statement.

In July, FAA took the unusual move of downgrading Mexico’s safety rating from Category 1 to Category 2. International aviation safety rankings have only two categories.

A Category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations’ technical agency for aviation. A Category 2 rating means a country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its aviation agency lacks technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, or inspection procedures.


Countries with air carriers that fly to the United States are required to meet international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance

The Category 2 rating is usually the province of Third World countries, but the U.S. has previously downgraded other important allies, including Israel in December 2008. When the FAA takes such an action, it usually is the result of deficiencies in government regulation of aviation safety, rather than a judgment about an individual airline.

The action in July didn’t stop flights between Mexico and the U.S., but it prevented Mexican airlines from expanding service to the United States.

FAA said that at Mexico’s request it will continue to provide technical assistance to support and maintain the changes that have been made.