US aviation authority FAA opens office in Mexico, says ambassador

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Updates with additional information, context

MEXICO CITY, January 20 (Reuters)The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has opened an office in Mexico to improve cooperation between authorities and the private sector, US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said Friday.

In September the said the FAA it would work with countries showing early signs that civil aviation authorities are not meeting safety standards.

FAAA downgraded Mexico to a Tier 2 security rating in 2021 and it has yet to regain the highest rating. The downgrade will prevent Mexican airlines from opening new routes to the United States, hampering expansion plans.

In recent months, the Mexican Ministry of Transport has presented a series of proposals retrieve noterrequest changes regulations, budgets and international compliance for personnel licensing, aircraft operations and aircraft airworthiness.

“With respect for the sovereignty of Mexico, we believe that implementing the FAA’s recommendations through legislation will help our aviation ties be more beneficial to both countries and help us become more competitive. Salazar said in a statement Friday.

A reform of the Mexican aviation law was sent to Mexico congresswhich is not currently in session.

The reform directed by the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would allow “cabotage,” a controversial practice that allows international airlines to operate domestic routes.

Mexican aviation groups have denounced the reform, though they acknowledge changes need to be made before Mexico regains Category 1.

(Reporting by Kylie Madry; editing by Sarah Morland and Josie Kao)

((Kylie.Madry@thomsonreuters.com;))

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