On January 26th, 2015, a decree was published at the Federal Official Gazette, by which certain amendments and additions to the Mexican Civil Aviation Law (MCAL) were announced. The decree will become effective the next day of its publication.

Articles 15, 39 of the MCAL were amended. Articles 2, 11, 15, 27, 32, 38 and 41 were added with paragraphs and sections. The MCAL was also added with a Chapter XV Bis so-called "Operational Safety" which includes articles 78 Bis to 78 Bis 10; 86 with a section VIII and 88 Bis.

Some of the main points of the above mentioned amendments and additions are as follows:

a) The term "Cabotage" was defined in article 2 V of the MCAL as the air transport of passengers, cargo, mail or a combination of them in exchange of a payment or any other type of consideration, between two or more points in Mexican soil. Permits granted to carriers to operate air transport services may be revoked by the authority if the carrier realizes cabotage using foreign aircraft which are not authorized for such purposes.

Cabotage is prohibited for foreign carriers which operate air services for private commercial purposes. Severe fines can be imposed to foreign carriers infringing this rule. These fines include, apart from the monetary penalties, the seizure of the carrier's aircraft if cabotage practices are detected by the authority in fraganti or within the following 24 hours.

b) An Operational Safety System of administration was acknowledged as a systematic approach for the administration of operational safety in the civil aviation field. This system was established as a documented process of risk management which is part of a system of data gathering.

Likewise the system is aimed at improving operational safety of, and reducing risks involved with, civil aviation in benefit of the public interest. These goals are achieved by integrating operations and technical systems relating to human and financial resources, including public administrative structures, the obligation for public agencies to report back, public policies and the procedures necessary to attain these goals.

The Department of Communications and Transports will establish a national program for the administration by Mexico of the operational safety system, by creating among other goals a Mexican policy for such purposes.

Originally published 4 February 2015

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