The United States has downgraded Costa Rica’s aviation industry, saying the Central American country does not comply with the safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says it has assigned category 2 rating for Costa Rica after assessing the safety standards in the country. However, the FAA has not revealed the precise reason for the downgrade.
The ‘category 2’ rating means Costa Rica lacks regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with international standards, or the country’s aviation industry is not efficient in one area, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures.
As a result of the downgrade, Costa Rican carriers cannot add more routes to US destinations, but they can continue their existing operations.
Under International Air and Shipping Association (IASA) laws, the US can assess the performance of foreign carriers that have applied to fly to the US, or are currently operating flights to the country.
According to the FAA, the administration conducted an in-country reassessment of Costa Rica in October 2018, and met with officials from the country’s civil aviation department (DGAC).
The downgrade could hurt Costa Rica’s tourism industry. The Central American country welcomed more than three million tourists last year, with US citizens making up the majority of visitors, according to The Tico Times.
However, Costa Rican carriers will not be greatly affected, as Volaris is the only local carrier serving the US.