By KELIN DILLON
Amid a controversial year for Mexico’s aeronautics sector, high-ups in the country’s Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) purportedly helped its pilots cheat their way through the Mexican commercial pilot exam, allowing underqualified and unprepared aviators to operate in Mexico’s airspace.
After a Sept. 6 investigation ordered by retired general and now-former head of the International Civil Aviation Training Center (CIAAC) Benjamín Romero Fuentes, it was revealed that the AFAC’s Head of Logistics for Special Programs and On-the-Job Training Marco Antonio Toro Moreno had allegedly accessed and printed three versions of the test’s answer key on Feb. 3.
Just weeks after Toro Moreno’s actions, an “abnormal” and suspicious number of pilots achieved a perfect score on the exam, prompting the CIAAC’s inquiry.
After filling in his boss, AFAC Director Carlos Rodríguez Munguía, about the situation, Romero Fuentes was quietly dismissed from his post 28 days later, a move that insiders say was not the cordial resignation the organization announced to the public.
As the operation of the CIAAC and the proficiency of the AFAC’s pilots are major contingencies of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reinstating Mexico’s Category 1 airspace designation, experts worry this new scandal will delay Mexico’s reevaluation even further.