(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
For the second year in a row, Israel failed to meet the requirements necessary to upgrade its Federal Aviation Authority safety ranking after having dropped from category one to two in 2008.
Earlier this week FAA officials were in Israel and met with civil aviation officials to see whether the high ranking could be restored.
The International Aviation Safety Assessment program, administered by the FAA, assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries that have air carriers that operate, or might be authorized to operate, in the United States.
The assessments are not an indication of whether individual foreign air
carriers are safe or unsafe; rather, they determine whether or not
foreign civil aviation authorities meet international safety standards.
In December, 2008, the FAA changed Israel’s aviation safety standard
rating to category two following an assessment of the country’s civil
aviation authority and in particular its regulation of light, private
and sports aviation. With a category two rating, Israeli air carriers
are not allowed to establish new service to the United States.
According to the FAA, “A Category 2 rating may involve a country lacking
laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance
with international standards, or that its civil aviation authority does
not meet international standards in one or more areas such as technical
expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, or inspection procedures.”
Most developed countries and even some developing states have category
one rankings. Nigeria, for example, received its category one ranking
last week. Other countries with a category two ranking are: Bangladesh,
Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mexico, Philippines and Ukraine.
Israel is the only member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that has a category two ranking.
The FAA team is due to return to Israel after the holidays and may
restore Israel’s flight safety status to category one in 2011.
The Transportation Ministry spokesman said that the Civilian Aviation
Authority has made all the necessary preparations for restoring Israel
to category one and that a new Flight Law that would legislate all the
required changes was scheduled to be passed in the next Knesset session.
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is scheduled to issue a report on
civil aviation next week, and is expected to recommend establishing a
new, independent national authority to investigate mass transportation