A lowered rating for the OECS region was announced by the US Federal Aviation Authority on Friday and will be discussed in a special virtual regional meeting on Sunday, 10 May 2020 by the Heads of Government for member states.
The FAA announced on Friday, 8 May in a press release that the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has been assigned a Category 2 rating because it does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety standards under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme.
“A Category 2 IASA rating means that laws or regulations lack the necessary requirements to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that civil aviation authorities are deficient in one or more areas, including technical expertise, trained personnel, recordkeeping, inspection procedures or resolution of safety concerns.
The OECS’s carriers can continue existing service to the United States. They will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States,” explained the release.
Under the IASA programme, the FAA assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conduct operations to the United States, or participate in code-sharing arrangements with US partner airlines, and makes that information available to the public.
The assessments determine whether foreign civil aviation authorities comply with ICAO safety standards, rather than FAA regulations.
The FAA release said that to maintain a Category 1 rating, a country 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.
Other OECS countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia.