US lowers Mexico’s air safety rating, according to official | Flight News

The U.S. government on Tuesday lowered Mexico’s flight safety rating, according to a U.S. government official.

The U.S. government on Tuesday lowered Mexico’s flight safety rating, an action that prohibits Mexican carriers from adding new U.S. flights and limits airlines ’ability to enforce agreements with sales, according to a U.S. government official.

Plans for downgrading the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were first reported on Friday by the Reuters news agency.

The FAA has had lengthy talks with Mexican aviation regulators about its concerns. An official U.S. announcement is expected later Tuesday.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday that U.S. authorities should not lower the teaching of air safety in Mexico, arguing that his country follows all relevant standards.

“We have complied with all the requirements. We feel that this decision should not be made,” Lopez Obrador said at a regular news conference when asked about the possibility of lowering the U.S. from the safety classification.

Mexico’s downgrading from “category first” to “category two” means that current U.S. service to Mexican carriers will not be affected, but they will not be able to launch new travel and marketing practices in airline-to-airline such as selling seats on each flight on code-share arrangements may be limited.

Delta Air Lines said Tuesday that an FAA downgrade is not part of partner Aeromexico and will have little impact on customers.

“It’s not about Aeromexico. It’s part of the Mexican version of the FAA that doesn’t have proper protocols in place,” Delta chief Glen Hauenstein said at a Wolfe Research conference.

Delta has a code-share arrangement with Aeromexico that allows both air carriers to sell seats on each flight to each other.

Delta was forced to remove its codes on Aeromexico flights after the downgrade, even if Aeromexico could continue to code Delta flights and members of Delta’s loyalty program would still receive SkyMiles on flights to Aeromexico that often carry the code, Hauenstein added.

This is not the first time the FAA has lowered Mexico’s air safety rating. In 2010, the agency downgraded Mexico for suspected deficiencies within the civil aviation authority, after reinstating the highest rating about four months ago.

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