US – MEXICO CERTIFICATION RELATIONS ARE GETTING BETTER, BUT THERE ARE MANY STEPS BEFORE THERE IS TRUE RECIPROCITY

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ARTICLE:  Mexico Manufacturing Information

This website, which facilitates trade between the US and Mexico, either knows more than the FAA includes in its website on the Bilateral Airworthiness Safety Agreement (BASA) or overstates the current relationship between these two civil aviation authorities. The Offshore Group states that “Mexico’s aeronautical authority is now allowed to certify parts, components, and aeronautical systems.” This quote reflects the general sentiments expressed in the 2007 BASA (Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement – Executive Agreement), but that cited language is not yet operative.

This confusion is somewhat understandable. The BASA to actual implementation process has as many steps as a minuet, but the consummation of the dance and the BASA requires many social/diplomatic variations suggesting progress, but far from the couples long term amorous or safety goals.

The current status of the US and Mexico airworthiness relationship is defined in a 2009 Implementation Procedures Agreement (Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness). That document evidences that US FAA certificated new and used aircraft, new and rebuilt aircraft engines, and new propellers (as further refined in a table 1 attached to the agreement) will be accepted by the DGAC. The north bound export list is not as generous; the FAA agreed to accept ONLY design changes and repairs, approved by the Mexican civil aviation authority, for appliances designed in that country.

The IPA‘s terms reflect a positive recognition of the DGAC’s technical competence, but not yet a full acceptance of aircraft and appliances for which the Mexican authority has exercised certification. After a period of time during which the FAA observes the DGAC’s technical competence and execution of its airworthiness powers, there will be additional clauses added to the IPA; for example, the FAA might someday recognize that Mexican approval of repairs merit US acceptance.

It is also worthy to note that the US labor unions regard all foreign repair and certifications as an anathema. Congress, particularly the House of Representatives, is convinced that all outsourcing overseas constitutes a degradation of safety. The US-Mexico IPA will be carefully marked and may require more time than objectively may be required.

BASAs, IPAs and the international airworthiness negotiation process involve arcane language, more diplomatic in terms than engineers may be used to interpreting. JDA has on its roster folks who have communicated in this jargon and who may help manufacturers, foreign and domestic, translate the text into plain English. (http://jdasolutions.aero/services/faa-certification.php).

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