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FAA Downgrades Mexico’s Airline Safety Rating

FAA Downgrades Mexico’s Airline Safety Rating

The Associated Press announced Tuesday that Mexicana de Aviacion, known to millions of sun seeking, Mexico-bound travelers as “Mexicana” filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and Mexico after pilots and flight attendants rejected a pay cut and layoffs.

Just days before, reports AOL Travel, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded Mexico’s aviation safety rating citing concerns that safety oversight was not up to international standards. In effect, the action signaled an end to code-sharing agreements between Mexico’s airlines and its US partners: Delta Air Lines with AeroMexico and American Airlines with Mexicana.

A spokesperson for Delta reassured passengers that they can still fly AeroMexico, but will have to rebook flights with an AeroMexico flight number. Or book on a Delta flight to the same destination. Presumably American Airlines will follow suite.

Frequent-flier miles will not be affected because both airlines are members of the same SkyTeam alliance of global carriers.

The FAA’s action does not prevent the two Mexican airlines from flying between Mexico and the United States, but it does prevent them from expanding services in addition to ending, for now the code share arrangement.

Mexicana has been struggling to contain costs and keep aloft by cutting several flights and, as aviation on MSNBC reports, Maru Johansen, Mexicana’s U.S. VP, blames last years swine flue epidemic in Mexico for crippling the travel and tourism industry, leading to unprecedented revenue losses.

Mexico’s Communications and Transportation officials were quick to respond to the safety demotion by claiming that the issue has to do with a “shortage in flight inspectors” and not with issues of actual flight safety.

Still, the result is the same.

The Mexican officials affirmed that their airlines are safe and continue to offer the highest quality of service

The FAA has in the past downgraded other national fleets, like Israel’s in 2008, and the action is seldom aimed at a specific airline, as opposed to a country’s regulation and attention to safety regulations.

For now the downgrade and end to code sharing remain. Whether Mexico will continue to have two national carriers remains to be seen

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