Dec. 29, 2022

Mexico’s Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) announced it will increase the number of ramp checks of foreign business aircraft and crews traveling into and around the country between Dec. 20, 2022, and Jan. 20, 2023.

The uptick is due to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s decision to turn over airport administration duties to the military.

“The government might randomly check any business aircraft, whether a flight begins in North America, Europe or the Middle East,” said Fernando Apreza Valdés, handling success supervisor at Manny Aviation in Mexico. “The AFAC plans to look closely at commercial charter operators of aircraft with a MTOW greater than 13,000 pounds or with more than 19 seats.”

Because Tapachula (TAP) and Cozumel (CZM) airports are already mandatory stops for aircraft arriving from South America, Central America or the Caribbean, inspections at those airfields could be stricter than at other airports as the government attempts to ensure illegal items do not enter the country.

Other airports expected to see increased checks include Cancun (CUN), Oaxaca (OAX), Puerto Escondido (PXM) and Ensenada (ESE). In lieu of separate landing permits for each movement, “Manny Aviation recommends Part 91 operators get an annual multi- entry authorization (MEA) that allows as many landings as the operator requires,” said Valdés.

During a typical ramp check, local authorities will be looking at an aircraft’s airworthiness certificate, registration, along with worldwide and/or Mexican insurance certificates stating that Part 91 aircraft are “private use” and Part 135 aircraft are “commercial use.” It is mandatory for Part 135 aircraft to have both insurances – worldwide and Mexican – as well as copies of both pilots’ certificates (both sides) and pilot’s medical certificates valid for the type of operation and the PIC’s age. If the operator holds an MEA, this document must be on board with the receipt, crew, and passengers lists.

Other documents required for commercial operations include:

The air operator certificate (AOC) and the FAA OST 4507 air taxi operator registration; (copies are acceptable if they include all fleet tail numbers). Users of a Mexican indefinite blanket permit (IBP) must include the Mexican AOC’s yearly verification.

Each maintenance logbook must verify the aircraft’s airworthiness. In addition to each aircraft’s flight manual, and weight and balance documents, a radio station license and noise certification are required, as is a first- aid kit, and, at a minimum, an electronic set of Jeppesen charts. A minimum equipment list is required when noted on the aircraft’s type certificate, as is a preflight checklist. Aircraft making overwater flights must carry a raft and life jackets.

Pilots of Part 91 flights must present a document clarifying the flight’s purpose, listing the lead passenger’s name, and declaring its connection with the aircraft (owner, employees, etc.), as well as the relationship of the passengers to the lead passenger.

AFAC has also ramped up enforcement of longstanding equipment mandates listed in 008-SCT3-2002, NOM-022-SCT3-2011 and NOM-069-SCT3-2010. These are equivalent to the equipment mandates in FAA regulations. Commercial operators must prove the following equipment is installed on each aircraft in that company’s fleet:

  • Emergency locator transmitter
  • Transponder
  • Flight data recorder
  • Cockpit voice recorder
  • Airborne collision avoidance system / traffic alert collision avoidance system
  • Ground proximity warning system
  • Enhanced ground proximity warning system
  • ADS-B