Contrary to what many said, the return of our country to Category 1 of the Federal Aviation Agency of the United States (FAA) has not been a matter of “a few months”, but is becoming a very complicated process. If things go well for us, it could be resolved in June and, in the worst case, it could take the three years it took for Costa Rica to get off the blacklist.
Of course, nobody wants this scenario, but the requalification process has taken much longer than expected, among other things because there have been successive changes within the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) since the audit began and after the degradation, which has prevented, in the first place, from understanding exactly what are the criteria with which the FAA classifies its observations, because one thing is that the officials declare that “they are already doing things” and the other is that in actually make them and document it.
Another problem is that our legislation is an incomprehensible tangle because there is a long way to go from the circular to the regulation, from good intentions to the norm. The third issue, the worst of all, is the lack of budget to invest in an issue that should be of prime importance, but which apparently is not a priority in this administration. There is the problem of licenses and medical exams that simply do not come out.
Usually, after the FAA audit, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conducts its own audit. The first has its focus on three of the 19 ICAO annexes and seeks to confirm the capacity of the State (in this case the Mexican State) to supervise the safety management of airlines that fly to the United States. The second, the ICAO audit, reviews how its 19 annexes are managed, that is, the entire air transportation system of the country.
ICAO is usually very comprehensive in its audits and of course there is nothing like a downgrade, but it is true that its reviews give rise to recommendations for the authorities to pay more attention to supervision and their ability to manage the various edges that presents air transport.
These recommendations are generally public. And those that are not transcend. That is why our authorities have to take this audit very seriously because the degradation of the FAA has cost us millions of dollars and the presence of our airlines in the bilateral market.
So far, ICAO has decided to postpone its audit in Mexico to September. But that doesn’t mean you should take it lightly. The most sensitive points will be those that already concern the FAA, more airports, air traffic and accident investigation, three pending issues that the new Undersecretary of Transportation has to resolve even though he knows nothing about the subject.
The bad news is that the agencies in charge are still stuck with the downgrading of the FAA, while the new airport and Seneam are two headaches that border on migraines.