For Immediate Release

December 19, 2008
Contact: Alison Duquette
Phone: (202) 267-3883

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today changed Israel’s aviation safety standard rating to Category 2 following an assessment made last July of the country’s civil aviation authority. The rating is not related to security issues.

With a Category 2 rating given by the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, Israeli air carriers will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States. The civil aviation authority of Israel is addressing the items identified, including working with the FAA on an aggressive action plan to correct all areas of concern so that their safety oversight system fully complies with standards and practices set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

All 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. ICAO establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

Since November 1995, Israel has maintained a Category 1 rating, meaning that the country’s civil aviation authority complied with all ICAO safety standards. A Category 2 rating may involve a country lacking laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with international standards, or that its civil aviation authority does not meet international standards in one or more areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, or inspection procedures.

The IASA program administered by the FAA assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries that have air carriers operating or might be authorized to operate to the United States. The FAA also makes this assessment information available to the public. The assessments are not an indication of whether individual foreign air carriers are safe or unsafe. Rather, they determine whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations.

The FAA works with countries to ensure that they comply with ICAO standards and earn IASA Category 1 ratings. IASA information can be found on the FAA website at