For Immediate Release

Release No. AOC 12-06
May 30, 2006
Contact: Les Dorr, Jr.
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 Ecuador to Category 1 following a reassessment of that country’s civil aviation authority.

The last time the FAA fully assessed Ecuador’s civil aviation authority was in 1995, with subsequent technical visits from 1997 to 2002. The country’s civil aviation authority has shown increasing improvements since the FAA began providing technical assistance in 2002.

A Category 1 rating means that the civil aviation authority of Ecuador has been assessed by FAA inspectors and has been found to license and oversee air carriers in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Ecuador has been in Category 2 since the 1995 assessment.

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 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.