Mexico Updates Civil Aviation Law After U.S. Audit

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP

On May 20, 2021, Mexico's Congress published reforms to the Civil Aviation Law to better align the nation's air transport industry with the regulatory requirements of international treaties and to comply with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and its Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The reforms come in the wake of the audit conducted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Mexico's Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC). The findings noted differences among the Civil Aviation Law and associated regulations, permit requirements, licenses, certificates of capacity and other items as they relate to international standards.

Among the changes are that the Ministry of Transportation and Communication (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes), acting through the regional and airport commanders of the Federal Agency of Civil Aviation (Agencia Federal de Aviación Civil or AFAC), shall be the aeronautics' authority in airports, heliports and airdromes generally.

The definition of air transportation services is updated to include:

  • non-regular national air transportation services
  • regular national air transportation services
  • non-regular international air transportation services
  • regular international air transportation services

The definition of "Private commercial" services has been removed. Other changes include:

  • Cabotage practices by foreign permit holders in Mexico are prohibited. The prohibition also applies to foreign owners of private non-Mexican aircraft.
  • Transportation of passengers, cargo or mail (or any combination thereof) embarked abroad, between two or more points within Mexican territory, is only allowed by Mexican permit holders authorized to provide (non-regular) international air transportation services under the modality of air taxi or charter services.
  • The reform creates a Commission for the Investigation and Assessment of Aviation Accidents, which will have the authority and autonomy to investigate aviation accidents and incidents.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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