FAA Downgrades Caribbean Safety Rating

    (CMC) — The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded the safety rating for the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), a move that means carriers from those islands cannot start new services to the United States.

    The FAA has assigned a Category 2 rating for the ECCAA because it “does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme”.

    The FAA said a Category 2 IASA rating means that “laws or regulations lack the necessary requirements to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that civil aviation authorities are deficient in one or more areas, including technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, inspection procedures or resolution of safety concerns”.

    The US-based regulator said that while the carriers from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) can continue existing service to the United States, “they will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States.”

    The ECCAA provides aviation safety oversight for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadine.

    Under the IASA programme, the FAA said it assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conduct operations to the United States, or participate in code-sharing arrangements with US partner airlines, and makes that information available to the public.

    The FAA said the assessments determine whether foreign civil aviation authorities comply with ICAO safety standards, rather than FAA regulations.

    The FAA said a Category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO standards and that the rating allows air carriers from that country to establish service to the United States and carry the code of US carriers.

    “To maintain a Category 1 rating, a country must adhere to the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance,” the FAA said.

    The IASA said that, under its programme, the FAA determines whether another country’s oversight of its air carriers that operate, or seek to operate, into the US, or codeshare with a US air carrier, complies with safety standards established by the ICAO.

    The IASA said its programme is administered by the FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS), Flight Standards Service (AFS), International Programmes and Policy Division (AFS-50) and focuses on “a country’s ability, not the ability of individual air carriers, to adhere to international aviation safety standards and recommended practices contained in Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing), Annex 6 (Operation of Aircraft), and Annex 8 (Airworthiness of Aircraft) to the International Convention on Civil Aviation ‘Chicago Convention’ (ICAO Document 7300).”

    The IASA said in a statement that assessments determine compliance with these international Standards by focusing on the “eight critical elements of an effective aviation safety oversight authority specified in ICAO Document 9734, Safety Oversight Manual”.