When CAAs of countries with no existing air carrier service to the United States are found to not meet ICAO standards, FAA may not undertake final consultations. The FAA will notify DOT that the CAA does not have an acceptable level of safety oversight and its application for economic authority will be denied. The FAA will undertake a reassessment of the CAA after evidence of compliance with ICAO provisions has been received. FAA will, of course, be willing to meet with CAAs at any time, as our resources permit.

After the assessment visit, consultations (if necessary), and notifications have been completed, FAA will publicly release the results of these assessments. This policy revision, published in 1994 (Federal Register Vol. 59, No. 173, September 8, 1994), was made after considerable deliberation. We determined that the findings in our IASA program regarding safety oversight shortcomings must be provided to all U.S. citizens so they can make informed choices in their international flights.

The FAA plans to periodically revisit CAA's of countries with air carriers operating into the United States to maintain full familiarity of the methods of that country's continued compliance with ICAO provisions. The FAA may also find it necessary to reassess a CAA at any time if it has reason to believe that minimum ICAO standards are not being met.

At present, there are close to 600 foreign air carriers that operate into the United States. There are approximately 103 countries or regional country alliances that have oversight responsibilities for air carriers that either currently operate into the United States, that have air carriers that have applied to operate into the United States, or have a national air carrier that code shares with a U.S. partner air carrier. As of December 18, 2008 the results of 101 completed CAA assessments have been publicly disclosed.

The initial findings have shown that two thirds of these countries were not fully complying with ICAO standards. Deficiencies found in FAA assessments typically fall into major categories. These categories are almost identical to the deficiencies that have been found by ICAO in the past. These deficiencies included:

  • inadequate and in some cases nonexistent regulatory legislation;
  • lack of advisory documentation;
  • shortage of experienced airworthiness staff;
  • lack of control on important airworthiness related items such as issuance and enforcement of Airworthiness Directives, Minimum Equipment Lists, investigation of Service Difficulty Reports, etc.;
  • lack of adequate technical data;
  • absence of Air Operator Certification (AOC) systems,
  • nonconformance to the requirements of the AOC System
  • lack or shortage of adequately trained flight operations inspectors including a lack of type ratings;
  • lack of updated company manuals for the use by airmen;
  • inadequate proficiency check procedures; and
  • inadequately trained cabin attendants.

Some of the same items are also being found on FAA ramp checks of foreign carriers while in this country. This list is long but by no means exhaustive and points out a continuing safety oversight problem that several ICAO member States need to address within its own CAA. These are also problems that must be corrected before carriers from those CAAs can operate on a regularly scheduled basis to and from the United States.

Desired Outcome

The FAA is working to determine that each country meets its obligations under ICAO and to provide proper oversight to each air carrier operating into the U.S. The continued application of this program will result in a lower number of safety-related problems, including accidents, incidents, and an improved level of safety to the flying public.