We’ve received plenty of comments, emails, Tweets, social media DMs, and homing pigeon messages since the FAA downgraded Mexico’s safety rating from Category 1 to Category 2.
Some Delta SkyMiles members rely on AeroMexico mileage runs to help them rack up MQD and MQM. And given that AeroMexico is, y’know, a Mexican airline (in a joint venture with Delta), people are understandably nervous about what this all means.
What Did the FAA Say About Mexico?
In a press release, the FAA said:
While the new rating allows Mexican air carriers to continue existing service to the United States, it prohibits any new service and routes. U.S. airlines will no longer be able to market and sell tickets with their names and designator codes on Mexican-operated flights. The FAA will increase its scrutiny of Mexican airline flights to the United States.
The FAA is fully committed to helping the Mexican aviation authority improve its safety oversight system to a level that meets ICAO standards…
Both AFAC (Agencia Federal de Aviacion Civil) and FAA share a commitment to civil aviation safety. Sustained progress can help AFAC regain Category 1.
So what’s a Category 2?
A Category 2 rating means that the country’s laws or regulations lack the necessary requirements to oversee the country’s air carriers in accordance with minimum international safety standards, or the civil aviation authority is lacking in one or more areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, inspection procedures, or resolution of safety concerns.
What Does This Mean for AeroMexico and Delta Flights?
We won’t see any new flights or routes added between Mexico and the United States until the issue gets resolved.
Reuters’ Tracy Rucinski and David Shepardson wrote:
Delta has a codeshare arrangement with Aeromexico enabling them to sell seats on each other’s flights. Delta would be forced to remove its codes on Aeromexico flights following the downgrade, though Aeromexico could continue to code on Delta flights and members of Delta’s loyalty program could still receive SkyMiles on Aeromexico flights that would normally carry the code, [said Delta President Glen Hauenstein].
I consulted the SkyTeam experts at Juicy Miles this morning. Here’s what the company’s Miles Jackson told me:
The recent FAA decision absolutely has no effect on Delta flyers’ Medallion earnings.
We are consciously booking flights that are operated and marketed by Aeromexico and are not codeshare flights.
For clients traveling on Delta and Aeromexico, we’re determined to book these as separate tickets, thus eliminating any issues from the recent FAA decision.
We also partner with a top travel agency, allowing us to monitor any schedule changes or cancellations. We are very proactive about this for our valued travelers.
For our clients, there is no impact from this recent action and I do anticipate this to rectify itself in the near future.
The last time a similar situation as this occurred was corrected in a matter of months.
Reuters reported that Mr. Hauenstein told a Wolfe Research Conference the FAA’s reclassification would have “very little impact for our customers booking through Delta” regarding AeroMexico. “What is [sic] does do is restrict Aeromexico’s ability to grow into the United States.”
Safety-wise, should you be concerned about flying AeroMexico?
“This is not about Aeromexico,” he said. “This is about the Mexican version of the FAA not having some of the right protocols in place.”
The FAA’s downgrade of Mexico-based airlines from Category 1 to Category 2 seems like it’ll be temporary. There might be some minor annoyances with ticket reissues on codeshares. If you have codeshares booked on either carrier, get in touch with them to see if and how you’re affected.
But I know people with Aeromexico trips booked — and none of us are losing sleep over this.
Featured image: ©iStock.com/mixmotive
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