The US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced over the weekend that it was changing Israel's aviation safety standard rating to Category 2 following an assessment made last July of the country's civil aviation authority, the FAA said in a statement. "The rating is not related to security issues," the FAA announced. With a Category 2 rating given by the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, Israeli air carriers will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States. The Israel Airports Authority was addressing the items identified, including working with the FAA on an aggressive action plan to correct all areas of concern so that its safety oversight system fully complies with standards and practices set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the FAA said. "All countries with air carriers that fly to the United States must adhere to the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations' technical agency for aviation," the IAA emphasized. "ICAO establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance." Since November 1995, Israel has maintained a Category 1 rating, meaning that the country's civil aviation authority complied with all ICAO safety standards. 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. The assessment was not an indication that Israeli air carriers are unsafe, the statement said, but rather determined that the Israel Airports Authority was not meeting ICAO safety standards.