By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St Kitts, May 8, 2020 – The Washington-based Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Friday that it has downgraded the safety rating for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), a move that means carriers from those island nations cannot start new service.
The “Category 2” rating covers Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, as well as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The FAA said that the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has been assigned a Category 2 rating because it does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program.
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, record-keeping, 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.
The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) provides aviation safety oversight for OECS members Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, as well as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Under the IASA program, 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 U.S. 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. A Category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO standards. A Category 1 rating allows air carriers from that country to establish service to the United States and carry the code of U.S. carriers.
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.