For Immediate Release

Release No. AOC 10-06
April 21, 2006
Contact: Laura Brown or Les Dorr
Phone: (202) 267-3883


WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced it is raising the safety rating of Venezuela to Category 1 following a reassessment of that country’s civil aviation authority.

The last time the FAA assessed Venezuela’s civil aviation authority was in 1995. Since then, two audits by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have shown increasing improvements.

A Category 1 rating means that the civil aviation authority of Venezuela has been assessed by FAA inspectors and has been found to license and oversee air carriers in accordance with ICAO aviation safety standards. Venezuela has been in Category 2 since an FAA assessment in 1995.

As part of the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, 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 Category 2 countries are allowed to continue existing operations into the United States at current levels, but under heightened FAA surveillance

Carriers from Category 2 countries that do not serve the United States are not permitted to start service with their own aircraft while the country remains in Category 2 status.

###