The FAA recently
concluded that Bulgaria and Poland do not comply with
international safety standards set by the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO), thus giving the countries a Category
2 rating following a reassessment of its civil aviation
The FAA will remain engaged with the civil aviation authority in
Poland and Bulgaria and will periodically review the situation with
the intention of encouraging improvements that will qualify
Bulgaria or Poland for a Category 1 rating.
This announcement is part of the FAA’s International
Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, under which the agency
assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air
carriers that operate to the United States and makes that
information available to the public.
The assessments are not an indication of whether individual
foreign carriers are safe or unsafe. Rather, they determine whether
or not foreign civil aviation authorities (CAA) are meeting ICAO
safety standards, not FAA regulations.
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 that establishes international
standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and
The FAA, with the cooperation of the host civil aviation
authority, assesses countries with airlines that have operating
rights to or from the United States or have requested such
Specifically, the FAA determines whether a foreign civil
aviation authority has an adequate infrastructure for international
aviation safety oversight as defined by ICAO standards. The basic
elements that the FAA considers necessary include: 1) laws enabling
the appropriate government office to adopt regulations necessary to
meet the minimum requirements of ICAO; 2) current regulations that
meet those requirements; 3) procedures to carry out the regulatory
requirements; 4) air carrier certification, routine inspection, and
surveillance programs, and 5) organizational and personnel
resources to implement and enforce the above.
The FAA has established two ratings for the status of these
civil aviation authorities at the time of the assessment: (1) does
comply with ICAO standards, (2) does not comply with ICAO
- Category 1. Does Comply
with ICAO Standards: A civil aviation authority has been
assessed by FAA inspectors and has been found to license and
oversee air carriers in accordance with ICAO aviation safety
- Category 2. Does Not Comply with ICAO Standards: The FAA
assessed this country’s CAA and determined that it does not
provide safety oversight of its air carrier operators in accordance
with the minimum safety oversight standards established by ICAO.
rating is applied if one or more of the following deficiencies are
identified: (1) the country lacks laws or regulations necessary to
support the certification and oversight of air carriers in
accordance with minimum international standards; (2) the CAA lacks
the technical expertise, resources, and organization to license or
oversee air carrier operations; (3) the CAA does not have
adequately trained and qualified technical personnel; (4) the CAA
does not provide adequate inspector guidance to ensure enforcement
of, and compliance with, minimum international standards; and (5)
the CAA has insufficient documentation and records of certification
and inadequate continuing oversight and surveillance of air carrier
operations. This category consists of two groups of countries.
- One group is countries that have air carriers with existing
operations to the United States at the time of the assessment.
While in Category 2 status, carriers from these countries will be
permitted to continue operations at current levels under heightened
FAA surveillance. Expansion or changes in services to the United
States by such carriers are not permitted while in Category 2,
although new services will be permitted if operated using aircraft
wet-leased from a duly authorized and properly supervised U.S.
carrier or a foreign air carrier from a Category 1 country that is
authorized to serve the United States using its own aircraft.
- The second group is countries that do not have air carriers
with existing operations to the United States at the time of the
assessment. Carriers from these countries will not be
permitted to commence service to the United States while in
Category 2 status, although they may conduct services if operated
using aircraft wet-leased from a duly authorized and properly
supervised U.S. carrier or a foreign air carrier from a Category 1
country that is authorized to serve the United States with its own
aircraft. No other difference is made between these two groups of
countries while in Category 2.
The FAA has assisted
civil aviation authorities with less than acceptable ratings by
providing technical expertise, assistance with inspections, and
training courses. The FAA hopes to work with other countries
through ICAO to address non-compliance with international aviation
safety oversight standards.
The FAA will continue to release the results of safety
assessments to the public as they are completed. First announced in
September 1994, the ratings are part of an ongoing FAA program to
assess all countries with air carriers that operate to the United