Degradation of Mexican aviation to category 2 would be chaotic for the country
National airlines would not be able to open new routes, or fly to the United States, and the shared codes would lose their validity.
The inspectors of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States concluded last week the aviation security audit that they carried out to the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) and within 30 days, from Monday, they will decide whether Mexican aviation will retain its category 1 or be downgraded to 2, which would be chaotic for the sector.
In an interview with El Financiero, Carlos Rodríguez Munguía, general director of the AFAC, warned that the downgrading of Mexican aviation would be chaos: national airlines would not be able to open new routes, flights of Mexican firms to the United States would not be possible and shared codes would lose their validity.
“With the health emergency that we are already reduced in the number of passengers, if we add this (the degradation of the rating), it would be chaos, this uncertainty has caused concern in the leaders of the airlines, the industry in general, ”said Rodríguez Munguía.
In the world, only eight countries are in category 2 : Venezuela, Ghana, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Bahamas, Curaçao, and the countries that are part of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
Maintaining the category is of vital importance because US tourism represents around six out of every 10 international travelers who arrive in the country and on whom, to a large extent, destinations such as Los Cabos, Cancun, as well as Puerto Vallarta, depend.
The former Air Force commander acknowledged that FAA inspectors found deficiencies in the structure of the Federal Civil Aviation Agency due to a lack of personnel in the verification and inspection area and little training.
In addition to the fact that the AFAC does not have the powers to inspect and sanction airlines, airports, and other players in the industry, which is expected to be amended by Congress, which will issue legislation to provide the Agency with these characteristics.
“One of the findings of the FAA has been, precisely, the lack of sufficient inspectors to carry out the surveillance and verification functions, this is already being solved through steps (…) and fortunately they authorized us 180 places,” revealed the former commander .
El Financiero consulted with Viva Aerobus, Volaris and Aeroméxico their position regarding the audit carried out by the US authorities, but they declined to comment on the matter.
Despite the above, the manager said he was confident that category 1 will be ratified. While the FAA’s final ruling occurs, Mexico has begun hiring specialized personnel and the personnel who lagged behind in training have already scheduled updates, in which the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) also participates.
“Given the development of these final discussions, I have confidence in the work that the AFAC team has done and I am confident that we will go well. The working environment we had with them was one of harmony, there were no tensions or questions that raise doubts that the actions we have taken are adequate ”, stated Rodríguez.
Underpaid aeronautical technicians
The Americans also recommended that the Mexican aviation authority raise the salaries of its personnel and adapt them to those of the industry since they are currently paid just under half of what other professionals earn.
The AFAC will increase salaries, for example, for an inspector by between 50 and 70 percent. “It would improve significantly in the proportion of what they now perceive and an investigation was made in the industry, for each position how much is perceived in general in positions and an average was sought and that is what is intended to be achieved, it varies, the inspectors will rise 50 to 70 percent, “he added.