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ARTICLE: FAA Upgrades Israel’s Aviation Safety Rating to Category 1


The Chicago Convention created the International Civil Aviation Organization to insure that aerial operations followed consistent standards on a global basis. While ICAO has attempted to assure that each of its member companies meet those governmental criteria; the reality is that ICAO’s staff is employed by a collective set of countries many of which struggle to attain those standards.

Because of that institutional stress, EASA and the FAA have instituted their own extra governmental oversight programs. The US “audit” is called the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. Critics frequently wonder out loud if a sovereign can objectively analyze the CAA of another sovereign, particularly when the audited authority is a body of auditor’s closest allies.

The FAA showed its integrity and found that the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel did not meet the strictures of IASA and assigned its military ally and trading partner to Category 2. After much effort, CAAI demonstrated its competence and was reinstated as Category 1.

This is not a small issue on a global issue. The Philippines face the same issue and the entire Pacific region is concerned about maintaining the exacting FAA, and to a degree ICAO, expectations.

There are over 20 countries that are listed as Category 2 countries. As long as they remain in that restricted class, their national carriers will be denied authority to fly to the US or have their existing operations limited and closely scrutinized. A country would be well advised to try to regain Category 1 status, and to do so they typically must address one or more of the following deficiencies:

  • inadequate and in some cases nonexistent regulatory legislation;
  • lack of advisory documentation;
  • shortage of experienced airworthiness staff;
  • lack of control on important airworthiness related items such as issuance and enforcement of Airworthiness Directives, Minimum Equipment Lists, investigation of Service Difficulty Reports, etc.;
  • lack of adequate technical data;
  • absence of Air Operator Certification (AOC) systems,
  • nonconformance to the requirements of the AOC System
  • lack or shortage of adequately trained flight operations inspectors including a lack of type ratings;
  • lack of updated company manuals for the use by airmen;
  • inadequate proficiency check procedures; and
  • inadequately trained cabin attendants.

The director and the staff of one of the 20 or so CAAs on the Category 2 list all have made their best efforts to attain the required levels. It is extremely difficult for the authority’s internal staff to make findings about their associates’ deficiencies as enumerated above. That is the first step in attempting to regain the confidence of the FAA, EASA and ICAO. Third party experts are needed to convince the country’s executive and legislative branches that their CAA requires more resources, increased budget or improved statement of authority. Equally, it is difficult for the CAA staff to articulate with objectivity to the FAA that things have changed; both the message may have been made before and the CAA spokesperson may have given the same speech in the last debriefing with the FAA.

If restoring full status with the FAA under IASA matters is a priority, use of third party experts will be cost effective, particularly in that these aviation safety professionals have credibility, earned over the long term, with the FAA.

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