[Routes] September 27, 2023, 6:06 pm ET.By Andrew Chen.
Viva Aerobus becomes the first Mexican air carrier to add additional service to the U.S. following a change in the FAA’s safety rating.
Mexican low-cost carrier Viva Aerobus is adding five new routes to the United States. The routes are the first new U.S. markets introduced by a Mexican airline after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restored Mexico’s safety assessment rating to Category 1. As reported by Ishrion Aviation on Twitter/X, the new routes span from coast to coast.
FAA Restores Mexico’s Category 1 Safety Rating
The FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program is designed to assess a foreign country’s ability to adhere to international safety standards and recommended practices set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Under the Chicago Convention – the international agreement that formed ICAO – countries are required to exercise regulatory oversight over areas such as aircraft airworthiness and personnel licensing.
Through the IASA, the FAA periodically audits foreign countries and assigns them a Category 1 or Category 2 rating. Category 1 means that the country’s civil aviation regulator meets ICAO safety standards and Category 2 means that it does not. In May of 2021, the FAA downgraded Mexico’s rating from Category 1 to Category 2. Only a few other countries, including Russia, Pakistan and Venezuela, currently have Category 2 ratings.
Having a Category 2 rating means that carriers from the affected country cannot expand services to the United States or codeshare with U.S. airlines. However, carriers from Category 2 countries can continue operating services to the U.S. that existed prior to the audit. Mexico remained a Category 2 country until the…