As so often happens after an incident, regulators and local airport authorities call for increased levels of inspection. In this case, we are talking about Mexico.
The recent incident in Mexico involving a foreign-operated Challenger with a mechanical problem brought several other issues to light. The significant mechanical failure served as a catalyst for making local customs officials aware of the aircraft’s poor maintenance record and recordkeeping. Furthermore, it was discovered that this aircraft was operating as a private flight when clearly it was a charter.
With these revelations, Mexico City in an unofficial capacity, has called for all airports in the country to step up their ramp inspections on foreign registered aircraft. Customs officials have been instructed to more frequently ramp check foreign operations in Mexico; focusing on maintenance records, as well as ensuring the flights are operating as claimed on the permit.
The following is a partial list of documents that are being asked for upon inspection: Airworthiness Certificate, Registration Certificate, worldwide insurance and/or Mexican Insurance (stating private use when flying FAR PART 91 or stating charter use when flying FAR PART 135). If flying FAR PART 135, it is mandatory to have both insurances; worldwide and Mexican, along with pilot’s licenses and pilot’s medical certificates. If holding multiple-entry authorization, this document will also have to be onboard. For charter operations, the AOC and FAA OST 4507 FORM are to be on board, Mexican Indefinite Blanket Permit (IBP), and a current maintenance logbook.
The ramp inspections are to be random but are being done more frequently until the unofficial termination of the initiative on June 20th, 2019. Update! 8July2019 - As expected, the Mexican CAA has extended the enhanced inspection date to August 27, 2019. The purpose of the extension is to ensure more foreign aircraft go through the process in order to better gauge the extent of the issue. Local contacts advise not to be surprised if this date gets extended or if individual airports continue the increased inspections past the date. They also confirm that no additional fees have been added to the flights and Mexican Customs officials have been very good about not impacting passenger travel with the increased inspections. To be safe, please be sure to check with your international service provider or Mexican ground handler to ensure you have everything you need in advance of an operation.
Written by Phil Tyler 6/11/2019