WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced it was raising Trinidad and Tobago's safety rating to the highest international safety category following a reassessment of that country's civil aviation authority. As a result of the reassessment, Trinidad and Tobago's safety rating was raised from Category 2 to Category 1. A Category 1 rating means that Trinidad and Tobago's civil aviation authority has been assessed by FAA inspectors and has been found to license and oversee air carriers in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.
This announcement is part of the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, under which the agency assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that operate to the United States 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.
Countries with air carriers that fly to the United States 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, with the cooperation of the host civil aviation authority, assesses countries with airlines that have operating rights to or from the United States or have requested such rights.
Specifically, the FAA determines whether a foreign civil aviation authority has an adequate infrastructure for international aviation safety oversight as defined by ICAO standards. The basic elements that the FAA considers necessary include: 1) laws enabling the appropriate government office to adopt regulations necessary to meet the minimum requirements of ICAO; 2) current regulations that meet those requirements; 3) procedures to carry out the regulatory requirements; 4) air carrier certification, routine inspection, and surveillance programs, and 5) organizational and personnel resources to implement and enforce the above.
The FAA has established two categories for the status of these civil aviation authorities at the time of the assessment: (1) does comply with ICAO standards, (2) does not comply with ICAO standards.
Carriers from a country in Category 2 status may continue existing operations into the United States at current levels, but under heightened FAA surveillance. Expansion or changes are not permitted while in Category 2, but carriers from the country can operate new services using aircraft wet-leased from a duly authorized and properly supervised U.S. carrier or a foreign air carrier from a Category 1 country authorized to serve the United States using its own aircraft.
Carriers from Category 2 countries that do not serve the United States will not be permitted to start service with their own aircraft while the country remains in Category 2 status, but they may use wet-leased aircraft as previously discussed.