Under the International Convention on Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) each country is responsible for the safety oversight of its own air carriers. Other countries can only conduct specific surveillance activities, principally involving inspection of required documents and the physical condition of aircraft.
FAA conducts the International Aviation Safety Assessment Program (IASA), assessing the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of each country that has carriers operating to the United States. Because of the provisions of the Chicago Convention and national sovereignty, FAA is not permitted to evaluate a foreign carrier within its own sovereign state.
An IASA assessment determines if the foreign CAA provides oversight to its carriers that operate to the United States according to international standards. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency, and Annexes 1, 6, and 8 of the Chicago Convention develop those standards.
If the CAA meets standards, FAA gives that authority a Category 1 rating.
If the CAA does not meet standards, FAA gives that CAA a Category 2 rating.
The following resources can help:
Page Last Modified: 04/30/13 14:55 EDT
This page can be viewed online at: http://www.faa.gov/passengers/international_travel/