The Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Mexico’s air safety rating. This will prohibit the country’s carriers from adding services to the US. This becomes a problematic scenario since Mexico didn’t issue travel restrictions to the US, unlike other countries.
The good news though is that Mexican carriers can still continue to operate even with a lower rating. However, the drawback is that they can’t add new routes or services. In addition to this, there will be no code-sharing as well.
What exactly is code sharing? It’s a marketing agreement wherein an airline places its name on a flight operated by another airline. As FAA downgrades Mexico’s Air Safety Rating, US airlines will not be allowed to sell tickets for Mexican airlines with their name in it.
According to the FAA, the agency “identified several areas of non-compliance with minimum ICAO safety standards”. The FAA’s assessment happened from October 2020 to February 2021. The US rated most aviation systems at Category 1. With the downgrade, Mexico drops to Category 2 along with Bangladesh, Curacao, Ghana, Malaysia, Venezuela, Pakistan, Thailand, and others in the Caribbean.
Delta Air Lines has a code-sharing agreement with Aeromexico. According to Delta’s statement, “For customers who have booked a flight with Delta that is operated by Aeromexico, Delta may reissue their reservation onto the corresponding Aeromexico-operated flight”. Delta President Glen Hauenstein said that “I want everybody to know is we believe Aeromexico is incredibly safe”. He added that it is about the Mexican equivalent of FAA having issues.
There are thousands of flights between the US and Mexico monthly. This month, there are 21,000 flights between neighboring countries. This is a similar number to 2019.
The National Chamber of Air Transport known collectively as CANAERO which represents air carriers in Mexico believes that this could affect the industry negatively. The absence of code-sharing, according to CANAERO will negatively impact the ability of travelers to move the country. The group also called the Mexican government to take action to regain the rating. CANAERO said that “The Mexican airlines operate in the highest standards of operational security and international norms”.