The United States’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that Costa Rica no longer meets the highest international standards for air travel.
“The Republic of Costa Rica does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and has been assigned a Category 2 rating based on a reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority,” the FAA said in a press release.
The announcement suggests Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) “is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures.”
A country could also drop in ratings due to a lack of “laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards,” according to the FAA.
Costa Rica had held a Category 1 rating since 1996. The downgrade in rating follows an in-country reassessment under the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) in October 2018.
“The assessments determine whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations,” the FAA said.
With a Category 2 rating, “Costa Rica’s carriers can continue existing service to the United States. They will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States.”
Avianca Costa Rica and Volaris Costa Rica both operate international flights from Juan Santamaría International Airport near San José.
DGAC addressed the news in a Tuesday press conference.