[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 187 (Wednesday, September 28, 2022)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 58725-58727]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-21085]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 129


Changes to the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) 
Program

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Policy statement.

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SUMMARY: This document describes policy changes, clarification, or 
restatement to the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment 
(IASA) program to enhance engagement with civil aviation authorities 
(CAAs) through pre- and post-IASA assessment and to promote greater 
transparency. The FAA is making these changes to IASA policy to better 
meet the FAA's mission and safety expectations of the U.S. traveling 
public; better mitigate international civil aviation safety risks; 
strengthen international relationships with CAAs toward sustained 
success in maintaining or obtaining proper safety oversight; and 
improve effectiveness, integration, and efficiency in executing the 
IASA process. This docuent modifies the IASA policies previously 
announced by the FAA.

DATES: This policy modification is effective September 28, 2022.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rolandos Lazaris, Division Manager, 
International Program Division (AFS-50), Flight Standards Service, 
Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW, 
Washington, DC 20591; (202) 267-3719, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The IASA program is the means by which the FAA determines whether 
another country's oversight of its air carriers that operate, or seek 
to operate, into the U.S., or code-share with a U.S. air carrier, 
complies with safety standards established by the International Civil 
Aviation Organization (ICAO). The published IASA results of Category 1 
or Category 2 is notification to the U.S. traveling public of safety 
issues. Public notification of the IASA program was established by a 
Federal Register (FR) notification. As with this recent Federal 
Register document, subsequent milestones in the evolution of the 
program were also published in the Federal Register. These 
notifications are as follows:
     August 24, 1992--established the FAA Procedures for 
Examining and Monitoring Foreign Air Carriers (57 FR 38342).
     September 8, 1994--established the Public Disclosure of 
the Results of Foreign Civil Aviation Authority Assessments, through a 
three-category numbered rating system. (59 FR 46332).
     October 31, 1995--DOT notice Clarification Concerning 
Examination of Foreign Carriers' Request for Expanded Economic 
Authority, clarified the Department's licensing policy regarding 
requests for expanded economic authority from foreign air carriers 
whose CAA's safety oversight capability has been assessed by the FAA as 
conditional (Category II) or unacceptable (Category III) (60 FR 55408).
     May 25, 2000--Changes to the International Aviation Safety 
Assessment Program removed the Category 3 rating and combined it with 
Category 2 (65 FR 33751).
     March 8, 2013--Changes to the International Aviation 
Safety Assessment Program removed inactive countries (countries with no 
air carrier operations to the United States or code-shares with U.S. 
operators for four years and no significant interaction between the 
country's CAA and the FAA) from the IASA Category list (78 FR 14912).
    Through its IASA program, the FAA seeks continuous improvement to 
achieve even greater global aviation safety levels. As noted in the 
above-referenced Federal Register notification of September 8, 1994, 
initial IASA assessments found that two-thirds of the CAAs assessed had 
deficiencies in safety oversight obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation. As broad evidence of the program's 
effectiveness, now 90% of countries with an IASA rating achieved 
Category 1 and meet ICAO standards. The following changes are intended 
to further enhance the IASA program and strenghthen safety oversight 
worldwide.

[[Page 58726]]

IASA Program Policy Changes, Clarification, or Restatement

    The following paragraphs describe policy changes, clarification, or 
restatement to the FAA's IASA program to enhance engagement with CAAs 
through pre- and post-IASA assessment and to promote greater 
transparency.

Clarification of Definition of What the IASA Categories Mean

    The FAA is clarifying the IASA Category definitions to align them 
with the types of operations that require an IASA Category rating and 
therefore demonstrate the need for FAA oversight. The notification, 
published on March 8, 2013,\1\ states the definitions as, ``Category 1 
means that the FAA has found that the country meets ICAO standards for 
safety oversight of civil aviation. Category 2 means that the FAA has 
found that the country does not meet those standards.'' The 
notification further states that ``the IASA category rating applies 
only to services to and from the United States and to code-share 
operations when the code of a U.S. air carrier is placed on a foreign 
carrier flight. The category ratings do not apply to a foreign 
carrier's domestic flights or to flights by that carrier between its 
homeland and a third country. The assessment team looks at those 
flights only to the extent that they reflect on the country's oversight 
of operations to and from the United States and to code-share 
operations where a U.S. air carrier code is placed on a flight 
conducted by a foreign operator.'' Not combining this applicability 
into the Category definitions has given the public a mistaken 
perception of the FAA oversight of all operators in that country. The 
FAA exercises oversight authority of foreign operators with direct 
service to the United States through issuance and oversight of 
operations specifications (OpSpecs) issued to 14 CFR part 129 
operators. This requires the FAA to engage in regular contact with the 
relevant foreign CAA as to various aspects of these operations. When a 
U.S. operator places its code on a foreign operator's flight, part 129 
OpSpecs are not required, but those code-share arrangements are subject 
to regular audits accceptable to the U.S. Department of Transportation 
(U.S. DOT) under the U.S. Code-Share Program Guidelines. The FAA has no 
oversight authority for other air operator operations of the applicable 
CAA outside of these two instances. Therefore, the FAA is clarifying 
its IASA Category definitions as follows:
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    \1\ 78 FR 14912.
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     Category 1, Does Comply with ICAO Standards: The FAA has 
found that the country meets ICAO standards for safety oversight of 
civil aviation. Pursuant to category 1, a country's operators may 
pursue direct service to the United States or code-sharing partnership 
with U.S. air carriers where a U.S. air carrier places its codes on 
flights operated by a foreign carrier(s).
     Category 2, Does Not Comply with ICAO Standards: The FAA 
has found that the country does not meet those standards for safety 
oversight.

Change in the Criteria for Country Removal From the IASA List for 
Inactivity

    The policy, established in the March 8, 2013 Federal Register 
notification, allows for the removal of a country from the IASA 
category listing after four years of inactivity. The three criteria for 
removal are: a country has no air carrier providing air transport 
service to the United States; the country has no air carrier that 
participates in a code-share arrangement with U.S. air carriers; and 
the CAA does not interact significantly with the FAA. The FAA 
experience and analysis indicate that IASA information is not reliable 
two years after an initial assessment or reassessment without the 
safety oversight interaction between the FAA and foreign CAA, such as 
when there is an operator conducting U.S. air service and holding FAA 
OpSpecs under part 129, when a U.S. operator places its code on a 
foreign operator's flights, or when the FAA is providing technical 
assistance based on identified areas of non-compliance to international 
standards for safety oversight. Absent such interaction, any other 
engagement between the FAA and a foreign CAA is not a reliable 
indicator of the CAA's safety oversight capabilities in accordance with 
ICAO standards.
    The removal criteria published in 2013 no longer meet the need for 
timeliness and accuracy of information on the IASA Category Rating 
list. The 2013 criteria leave Category 1 countries on the list for an 
extended period of time and may give the U.S. traveling public a false 
sense of safety. Also, leaving Category 2 countries on the list for an 
extended period of time can be perceived as unfairly penalizing those 
countries when there has been no activity since the Category 2 rating 
was issued. As a result, the FAA will reduce the removal benchmark from 
four years to two years absent the interaction described above.

Clarification as to When an IASA Will Be Performed in a Country With No 
IASA Category Rating

    The FAA will perform an IASA of countries with no IASA Category 
rating after an operator from that country files an economic authority 
application with the U.S. DOT for either direct U.S. service with its 
own aircraft and crew, or a code-share that involves the foreign 
operator displaying the code of a U.S. operator.In many requests for an 
IASA, the country either does not have an operator or its operator may 
not yet have the aircraft type needed to provide service to the United 
States. This clarification in policy is intended to ensure that an 
initial IASA is used for its intended purpose of ensuring that the CAA 
and its operator(s) have each taken the necessary measures to manage 
and oversee such operations in accordance with ICAO standards, and also 
to maintain the accuracy of the IASA Category Rating list by not 
listing countries with no operations that meet the IASA applicability 
criteria.

Explanation of the Risk Analysis Process Used to Determine Countries of 
High Risk for IASA Reassessment

Risk Analysis To Determine IASA Category 1 Countries for Reassessment

    The FAA uses a risk analysis process to identify IASA Category 1 
countries for reassessment. The risk analysis is performed, at least 
annually and whenever new safety information is obtained, on each 
country on the IASA Category Rating list to determine countries of 
highest risk to the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) and the U.S. 
traveling public. The risk analysis was developed by FAA experts in 
this field, and is comprised of individual risk elements and grouped 
into the following five major IASA risk categories:
    1. DOT Economic Authority--New or existing U.S. DOT economic 
authority; U.S. service under part 129; new or current code-share 
involving display of U.S. operator code on foreign operator flights; 
and any USDOT administrative emphasis items and initiatives.
    2. Governance and Safety Culture--Areas of interest include: 
contracting of safety oversight functions; carrier wet lease to 
airlines of other countries; safety items identified by the CAA remain 
unresolved or not addressed; complaints received by FAA from other 
CAAs, operators, manufacturers, and the traveling public.
    3. IASA Information--Time passed since the last IASA, and other 
factors that indicate the Category 1 rating may no longer be valid.

[[Page 58727]]

    4. ICAO Requirements--Risk concerns include: negative ICAO 
Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP) findings indicating 
noncompliance with one or more of the eight critical elements of safety 
oversight; ICAO reports indicating noncompliance with Standards and 
Recommended Practices (SARPs); inaction with respect to ICAO action 
plans; ICAO USOAP information over two years old thus limiting its 
value.
    5. FAA Information--FAA has safety concerns about the oversight 
provided by the CAA, which include the areas of: FAA and foreign ramp 
inspections; safety-related complaints about carrier(s) from other 
CAAs; active technical assistance activities; compliance issues are 
present in FAA certificated or approved entities in the country; 
Congressional inquiries; and existing bilateral agreement 
implementation procedures.

Change To Introduce a New, Informal Process for Engagement With CAAs 
Identified for IASA Reassessment

    In support of the FAA's objective of improving communications with 
CAAs of IASA Category 1 countries identified as priorities through the 
FAA's risk analysis, the FAA will exercise discretion to provide CAAs 
with informal notification of safety concerns and request discussions 
with CAAs prior to the initiation of the formal IASA process. If such 
safety concerns have not been satisfactorily addressed, the FAA will 
begin the formal IASA notification process. The FAA will retain its 
ability to initiate immediate IASA category changes or IASA assessments 
when justified based on available safety information. The discretion to 
engage informally is to make CAAs aware of potential defiencies in 
safety oversight to enable more efficient resolution.

Change To Introduce New Risk Mitigation Measures When Countries Have 
Been Notified of High Risk Concerns That Would Trigger an IASA 
Reassessment

    This mitigation is twofold and involves limits to foreign 
operations to the United States and code-share arrangements with 
operators from countries for which the FAA has identified safety 
oversight concerns and limits on certain bilateral agreements. These 
changes will provide the U.S. traveling public and the U.S. air 
transportation system with an added measure of safety mitigation and 
freedom from external pressures to delay safety oversight 
responsibilities.
     Limitations on foreign operations to the United States and 
code-share arrangements. Upon FAA notification to a CAA of the FAA's 
safety concern and identification for an IASA reassessment, the FAA 
will limit the direct service to the United States and the display of 
U.S. operators' codes on foreign operators of that country to current 
levels.
     Limits on certain bilateral agreements. The FAA will 
communicate to the CAA that the FAA will cease reciprocal acceptance of 
any approvals or certifications under existing Bilateral Aviation 
Safety Agreement (BASA) implementation procedures (IP) for which the 
CAA may be responsible for issuing. These risk mitigation actions will 
increase transparency during the time between informal notification of 
the potential need for an IASA and the conclusion of the formal IASA 
process.

CAA Completion of the IASA Checklist Prior to an Assessment or 
Reassessment

    The FAA currently requests that the CAA provide a completed IASA 
checklist (available on the FAA website) prior to the FAA conducting an 
IASA; however, the FAA has not explicitly identified this step in past 
IASA policy statements. While not mandatory, it is in the CAA's best 
interest to complete the checklist in preparation for safety oversight 
discussions. The CAA's provision of a completed IASA checklist in 
advance of the assessment, whether initial assessment or reassessment, 
will facilitate an efficient and effective assessment review.

Transmittal of IASA Results

    This is a restatement of current policy. Once an IASA has been 
completed, the FAA will provide any findings of noncompliance with ICAO 
standards. Subsequently, the FAA will provide the results of the 
assessment to the CAA through an established cable process. If there 
are no findings of noncompliance with ICAO standards in the IASA 
report, the cable will reflect that the country will receive an IASA 
Category 1 rating. If there have been any findings of noncompliance 
with applicable ICAO standards, the FAA will provide the CAA with the 
opportunity to provide evidence to the FAA of the actions it has taken 
since the IASA to correct any findings of noncompliance.

IASA Final Discussions

    This is a restatement of current policy. During the final 
discussions, the FAA will review each IASA finding of noncompliance 
with the CAA, the CAA's corrective action since the IASA, and the 
status of the finding as either open or closed. This will be documented 
in a Record of Discussions, and the record will be signed by both the 
FAA and the CAA. The final assignment of an IASA Category rating will 
be transmitted to the CAA through the cable process.

Incorporation of FAA and CAA Development of a Corrective Action Plan 
(CAP) Upon Notification of an IASA Category 2 Rating

    For additional communication and support for a country downgraded 
to an IASA Category 2 rating, the FAA will provide the CAA with a CAP 
to address its safety oversight deficiencies and will conduct a virtual 
meeting with the CAA to establish timelines for completion. This will 
allow the CAA to begin work on its safety oversight findings at the 
conclusion of the IASA process without delay. Should the CAA request 
FAA technical assistance implementation of its CAP, this would require 
a government-to-government agreement.

Restatement of the Current Practice Regarding Reassessment of IASA 
Category 2 Countries

    To restate current FAA policy, a country with an IASA Category 2 
rating may request a reassessment in an attempt to obtain a Category 1 
rating. A CAP, as discussed above, showing the CAA's action on 
resolving the identified safety oversight items is one way of providing 
evidence of CAA readiness for an IASA reassessment.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2022.
Jodi L. Baker,
Deputy Administrator for Aviation Safety.
[FR Doc. 2022-21085 Filed 9-26-22; 11:15 am]
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