RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, denounced this Monday, May 24, that there are “interests” in the United States given the possible downgrading of the safety rating of Mexican aviation planned by that country.
“There are interests because those who benefit when there is a measure like this are the U.S. airlines, they are the ones who benefit, and (our) domestic airlines could be harmed; we are looking at this issue,” said the president in his morning press conference at the National Palace.
The President referred to international press reports that indicate that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States plans to downgrade Mexico’s aviation safety rating from category 1 to category 2 this week.
The decision would not affect U.S. airlines in their current operations but could prevent them from launching new routes or sharing seats with other allied companies.
“We are also looking at this matter, but it is not a delicate issue, I see more of a purpose to help U.S. airlines with a measure of this type,” López Obrador said.
The downgrading would occur due to Mexico’s alleged non-compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.
But López Obrador rejected the accusations, although he blamed previous governments for the current state of aviation. “We have been complying with all the requirements, we feel that this decision should not be carried out because we are up to date,” he said.
The conflict occurred after an annual contraction of 51.2% of domestic airlines in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, with a decrease of 47.4% of domestic travelers and 58.8% of international travelers, according to official data from the Federal Civil Aviation Agency.
The agency reported an annual decrease of 48.6% of domestic airlines in the first two months of the year, with a decrease of 64% of international passengers and 42.3% of domestic passengers.
“Fortunately, there is a recovery in the number of flights, there is an increase in the number of flights, there is more movement in all national airports,” López Obrador assured.
In the past, López Obrador’s government has caused uncertainty in the air sector by canceling the New International Airport of Mexico (NAIM) project and by a plan in past months that sought to redesign the capital’s airspace.