The Western Hemisphere is made up of 48 nations across North America, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Aviation plays an important role in many of these countries' economies, and it supports the safe and efficient movement of people and goods throughout the region. For countries with tourism-based economies, aviation is a key driver for economic growth and prosperity. With 17 Flight Information Regions (FIRs) adjacent to the U.S. National Airspace System, the region is critically important to the FAA. In 2021, Mexico was the top global aviation destination for U.S. passengers; the Dominican Republic ranked second, and Jamaica ranked third. In 2021, 35% of all U.S. citizen departures were to Mexico, and Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica combined accounted for 48% of all U.S. citizen departures by air. In addition, approximately 70% of all U.S. international traffic (aircraft, rather than passengers) flies to destinations in the Western Hemisphere each year.
The United States is an accredited member of the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Regional Office for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean (NACC) located in Mexico City, and the FAA participates extensively in ICAO activities in both the NACC and the South American (SAM) Regional Office in Lima, Peru. The FAA Western Hemisphere Office (AWH) leads coordination for all policy-related meetings in the NACC and SAM regions.
The AWH Director is located in Panama City, Panama. AWH currently has offices for our FAA Senior Representatives in Panama City, Panama; Brasília, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico, and Miami, Florida.
The resilience of the region has been demonstrated by the swift aviation recovery of most Latin American countries following the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent FAA and industry forecasts predict that much of the Western Hemisphere will continue to experience significant aviation growth in the coming years.