Does FAA provide safety oversight for international flights?
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.
- Category 1 means the air carriers from the assessed state may initiate or continue service to the United States in a normal manner and take part in reciprocal code-share arrangements with U.S. carriers.
- IASA ratings (MS Excel) are released to the public.
What happens if a CAA does not meet ICAO standards?
If the CAA does not meet standards, FAA gives that CAA a Category 2 rating.
- Category 2 means the air carriers from the assessed state cannot initiate new service and are restricted to current levels of any existing service to the United States while corrective actions are underway.
- FAA does not support reciprocal code-share arrangements between air carriers for the assessed state and U.S. carriers when the CAA has been rated Category 2. During this time, the foreign air carrier serving the United States is subject to additional inspections at U.S. airports.
- IASA ratings (MS Excel)are released to the public.
Where can I find more information about preparations for international travel?
The following resources can help: