The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded Costa Rica's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating to Category 2 after the Central American state came up short during an October 2018 audit.

The regulator said in a statement that Costa Rica was granted Category 1 status in 1996. However, last year's inspection had revealed glaring anomalies over which it had engaged the Costa Rican civil aviation authority (Direccion General de Aviacion Civil - DGAC) in February this year.

Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Rodolfo Méndez Mata, later said the audit had identified shortcomings in local civil aviation regulations that govern the licencing of personnel who oversee aircraft operations and airworthiness checks.

"The main issue that emerged is the delay in implementing ICAO-recommended amendments; for years, these amendments have not been given any follow-ups,” Guillermo Hoppe, Director of the DGAC, told QNews.

As it stands, the downgrade means that while Costa Rican carriers can continue to serve the United States, they will not be allowed to establish new services there. At present, Avianca Costa Rica and Volaris Costa Rica are the only Costa Rican-flagged carriers that serve the US.

Hoppe has pledged to have the findings resolved "in a matter of a few months".