FAA upgrades Mexican aviation safety status, paving the way for new cross-border flights

The Federal Aviation Administration upgraded Mexico’s civil aviation safety status to the highest level Thursday. The change comes a little more than two years after the regulator found the country’s airlines were routinely not meeting international aviation safety standards.

According to the FAA, Mexico was downgraded to International Aviation Safety Assessment Category 2 in May 2021, and since then the agency has been working with Mexican aviation authorities to improve conditions at the country’s airlines by providing expertise and resources as well as sending aviation safety experts to the country.

“With a return to Category 1 status, Mexico can add new service and routes to the U.S., and U.S. airlines can resume marketing and selling tickets with their names and designator codes on Mexican-operated flights,” a statement from the FAA said.

Once the U.S.-Mexico border reopened after the early days of the pandemic, cross-border travel demand rebounded quickly, and Mexico remains a hugely popular destination for U.S. travelers according to recent data from online booking platform Hopper.

With the FAA upgrade, it’s likely Mexican carriers will work to capitalize on that demand by adding more flights and possibly expanding to new cities in the U.S.

Hopper data showed that airfares between the U.S. and Mexico were relatively steady from 2022 through this summer, but as new flights equate to increased competition, it’s possible that airfares could drop if service increases.

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Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at zwichter@usatoday.com

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US-Mexico travel: FAA rules Mexican airlines improved safety standards

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