The long road to Category 1 of Mexican Airlines
This month of November marks a year and a half since the aeronautical authorities of the United States applied a measure of degradation to Civil Aviation in Mexico, by reducing the classification of airports from category 1 to 2, after failing to comply, according to the Administration Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), with various critical safety and regulatory requirements.
The rating that the United States granted to Mexico in May 2021 has prevented Mexican companies from expanding their operations on US soil and has also forced them to change codeshare agreements with US airlines, such is the case of Aeroméxico with Delta Airlines.
A long way
Regarding this issue, a few days ago the newspaper El Economista published that the Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT) is working at a forced march on a corrective plan that would allow it to achieve the long-awaited recategorization. However, the article points out, for this, 28 critical points must be resolved, which, in my opinion, are not a small thing. These points are very specific and refer to the allocation of human resources, which is understood as additional positions; financial resources, with a sufficient budget for the operation of the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC); training of current and new staff in the different areas, specialties and teams that operate in Mexico; as well as the integration of aviation medicine to the AFAC.
According to the same publication, the SICT expects to present the latest version of the corrective plan to the United States Federal Aviation Administration in December of this year, and if all goes well, it would be meeting with officials from the Technical Review in January 2023 to refine details. After this would come a new audit and a new evaluation and, finally, the verdict would finally be ready in April or May of that same year.
It goes without saying that if the recategorization is achieved, the Mexican airlines would be at a very good time to plan their itineraries for the 2023 summer season and finally begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The most interested in reversing this situation is Aeroméxico, a company that includes in its business plan more frequencies and expansion to new destinations both in the United States and in other countries; although the low-cost airlines Volaris, Viva and Aeromar are also in line, which see how the US airlines American, Delta and United are getting the biggest slice of the pie by transporting a greater number of international passengers to the neighboring country.
It must be remembered that, according to the National Chamber of Aerotransport (Canaero), until June 2020, losses in the Mexican air sector were estimated at 6.4 billion dollars (mdd) due to the pandemic and that with the category degradation from 1 to 2 they finished giving them the coup de grace.
I remember that in May 2021 the Mexican Federal Government dismissed the issue and considered this measure as an attempt to favor US airlines, even pointing out that “it will be something positive for Mexico” and committing to recover Category 1 in the short term. Well, a year and a half has passed since the degradation and until now we have not seen “the positive” of this situation.
What do you think? Send me your comments.