FAA Announces Aviation Safety Rating for Nicaragua

Managua airport. Photo Skycrapercity.com

TODAY NICARAGUA – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that Nicaragua complies with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and has been granted a Category 1 rating.

The FAA first assessed Nicaragua in 1994 and found it did not meetinternational standards.

While under a Category 2 rating, the country either lacked laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or its civil aviation authority – a body equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters – was deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures.

The Category 1 status announced October 16 is based on a June 2015 FAA assessment of the safety oversight provided by the Nicaraguan Institute of Civil Aviation (INAC).

During a September 2015 follow on visit to Nicaragua, the FAA verified the necessary corrective actions.  A Category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO standards.  With the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category 1 rating, Nicaragua’s air carriers, which are able to secure the requisite FAA and DOT authority, can establish service to the United States and carry the code of U.S. carriers.

As part of the FAA’s IASA program, the agency 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 U.S. partner airlines, and makes that information available to the public.  The assessments determine whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations.

In order 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.  IASA information is posted at www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/iasa/.