The Mexican authorities have progressed less than that referred to above to recover Category 1 of the International Aviation Safety Assessment Program (IASA). Almost 17 months after the downgrading to Category 2 by the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ), there is a total progress of 50% to comply with the observations made by the US authority in its audit, which, in addition, exceeded 28 initial indications to 39 observations.
According to the implementation plan prepared by the Federal Civil Aviation Agency ( AFAC ), contained among the documents obtained by Grupo Guacamaya through a hack carried out in previous weeks, of the 39 FAA observations, only three have been completed . In its whole.
Of the rest of the indications, 11 have progress of 50% or more, while 25 observations have a compliance rate of less than 50%. Among these, there are four observations that register an advance of 0% , according to the information as of August 25, to which Expansión had access.
This is lower than the progress previously mentioned by Carlos Rodríguez Munguía, director general of AFAC , of 90%. “We have almost 900 inspectors, and that is what has been happening to us. Although we have been training them remotely, virtually, you cannot train all of them at the same time, but we are practically done,”
The three completed observations are related to the lack of employment conditions within AFAC that allow the retention of suitably qualified and experienced technical personnel , since the same organization acknowledges having experienced “a high rate of personnel turnover” since its creation, in October 2019 to take over the functions of the former General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics.
The agency has also countered a claim about the lack of “objective evidence” about how the salaries and conditions of AFAC’s technical staff were compared to those of comparable staff in the industry, specifically about the availability of sufficient financial resources to hire and retain technical staff.
The FAA had also warned about the lack of a program for monitoring aircraft approved for Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) operations, which AFAC resolved by participating in the North American Approvals Registry and Monitoring Organization (NAARMO). .
Other observations with high progress for its compliance have been about the lack of policies and procedures for the administration and control of aeronautical verification inspector credentials (which had a progress of 95% ), and the lack of a system to guarantee that all the requirements are fulfilled before the authorizations and approvals for the holders of the air operator certificates, which had a progress of 76% .
What is missing to recover Category 1?
On the contrary, there are four observations that, until last August 26, had no progress.
The pending points are related to the lack of a methodology to determine the need for inspectors; the lack of evidence on the “peripheral expenses” of the actions carried out by the Agency; the insufficiency of operations inspectors to address all makes and models of aircraft, and the lack of a training program for airworthiness inspectors responsible for overseeing Maintenance Aviation Training Organizations.
The documents also give some examples of what has given rise to some of the observations, such as the one related to the lack of a system to ensure that the airworthiness requirements for the authorizations and special approvals of the holders of air operator certificates are met.
“For example, AFAC was unable to provide evidence regarding the numerous ground and air outages experienced by Aeroméxico during 2021,” the report states. “Also, engine condition monitoring (ECM) is not being monitored in operator reliability programs,” he added.
The Agency itself acknowledges the lack of a system to identify pilot deviations that could lead to action on their license, to the point that AFAC was unable to provide the FAA with evidence of a single pilot deficiency or noncompliance during a period of two years. “In addition, there is no reporting system in place or in place to investigate pilot deviations or noncompliance,” the reports say.
The comments on some of the pending points show that some problems may be more difficult to resolve.
One of the FAA’s observations is that AFAC has not applied its own airworthiness regulatory requirements, nor those of another State, and took as an example the Let L-410 Turbolet aircraft , which Interjet assured that it would use in its return to operations.
“No objective evidence was provided that the Let-410 aircraft met Mexico’s registration requirements,” the AFAC report indicates. “Possible solutions continue to be analyzed with the technical areas.”
The downgrade to Category 2 is Although the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a heavy blow to travel demand, the sector quickly recovered; however, the loss of Category 1 has prevented airlines from opening new routes and placing more planes to the United States .