After 20 Months, Costa Rica Recovers Category 1 in Aeronautical Safety Granted by the US

    Country rating had been downgraded in May 2019

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    Costa Rica regained the highest category in aeronautical safety 20 months after it was downgraded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States. The new rating was confirmed by the general director of Civil Aviation, Álvaro Vargas Segura, at 4:25 p.m. of this February 11.

    “We confirm that Costa Rica has recovered category one and we hope that the minister (of Public Works and Transportation, Rodolfo Méndez Mata) will communicate it. We have already made a statement and the minister will make the communication directly,” said the official. About 20 minutes later, the official reported in a press release that the notification was received through the United States Embassy in Costa Rica.

    “With great satisfaction we have received the information that Costa Rica is once again in category one according to the regulations of the FAA of the United States. This is a recognition of the work, the capacity of our technicians in the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, to whom I thank the work and effort they have made over the last few months so that we can celebrate this event,” said Méndez Mata.

    International operational safety standards

    The category granted represents for the country compliance with international operational safety standards, in areas such as:

    Aeronautical legislation.

    Aeronautical regulation.

    Qualifications and training of personnel.




    Resolution of operational safety problems.

    The new category also guarantees that the country complies with the standards of the International Aviation Safety Assessments (IASA) program.

    The country maintained category one from 2000 until May 13, 2019, when the Federal Aviation Administration reported a downgrade, as Costa Rica lacked laws to supervise airlines within the limits established in the minimum international standards.

    The requalification was also attributed to the fact that the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) was deficient in one or more areas such as “technical expertise, personnel training, record keeping or inspection procedures,” as indicated by the body attached to the Secretary of Transportation.

    Category two prevented airlines from opening new routes from the national territory to the United States, according to what was established in a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.

    Under evaluation

    The country had been under evaluation since October 2018, although the first results were known up to three months before the demotion transpired. As part of the subsequent process, the Federal Aviation Administration sent a delegation to the country that was tasked with reviewing the improvements implemented to regain the highest rating. It remained in the national territory between November 11 and 14, 2019.

    The Minister of Public Works and Transport stressed that the recategorization represents an impulse towards the reactivation of the aeronautical industry, which in turn will have a positive impact on tourism and the national economy.

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