Mexico’s Downgrade

When the Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Mexico’s aviation safety from Category 1 to Category 2, people took notice and, no doubt, so did Mexico’s airlines.  Does this reflect on Mexico’s airlines?  Yes, I think so. 

Mexico has joined the ranks of countries such as Haiti, Congo and Serbia & Montenegro.  In fact, the only nation listed as Category 2 that surprises me is Israel and I suspect that has to do more with execution and very specific circumstances than it does with technical quality.  Nonetheless, when you join those ranks, it speaks poorly of your country *and* your airlines.

Is a nation’s aviation infrastructure always indicative of the airlines?  No, of course not.  There are plenty of Category 1 nations who have had airlines that had unsafe operations over the years including the United States.  However, I can’t think of a particularly outstanding airline coming from a Category 2 nation except El Al.   You don’t really hear of the operational excellence of airlines from Honduras, Paraguay or the Phillipines, do you? 

This is bad for both Mexico and Mexico’s airlines.  And with Mexicana trying desperately to leap off a cliff and kill itself, it looks even worse. 

Suddenly, Mexican airlines can no longer codeshare with US airlines because of this.  That means participation in alliances is going to mean very little in terms of revenue. That is going to hurt.  And, let’s face it, Mexico doesn’t have a great reputation for fixing its problems quickly.  The Mexican Way is to bicker about it for as much as a decade before doing something.

It would be in the best interest of airlines in Mexico to start safety audits with IATA immediately and to put political pressure on the government to fix this asap.  Sadly, I think this is going to get much worse before it gets much better. 

I am a huge fan of Mexico.  I genuinely enjoy its people and much of its culture and I want them to succeed every day.  That said, success isn’t going to happen until its current government and, more importantly, its businesses and citizens come together to insist on excellence.  They have, quite literally, a major conflict going on in their drug war and a crumbling financial infrastructure and waning exports to countries like the US and Canada.  This development in aviation puts them at a further disadvantage with its partner trading countries and it needs to get fixed fast.

Mexico needs to ask for help from the US and other countries fast.  Or they can contact Swaziland or the Ukraine and ask for advice on how to dig one’s grave even deeper.

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