Africa dominates EU's airline blacklist

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European regulators have today published the first European Union (EU)-wide list of carriers banned in the EU, comprising of 93 airlines facing complete bans and three more with operational restrictions - overwhelmingly from Africa.

The European Commission (EC) says the list has been compiled on the basis of EU member state contributions and after an “in-depth analysis with member state experts”. It says that from now on the principle will apply that companies banned in one member state are banned across the EU.

Today’s formal adoption by the EC and publication comes after the Aviation Safety Committee, which has been helping the EC draw up the list, earlier this month completed its work. Member states have since January been detailing any flight bans or operating restrictions in place in their territory and the reasons why.

EC transport chief Jacques Barrot says: “The EU now has a coherent approach to banning airlines. This blacklist will keep dubious airlines out of Europe. It will also make sure that all airlines operating in Europe’s sky meet the highest safety standards.”

The list predominantly comprises carriers from five countries, which are judged to have an “inadequate system” for regulatory oversight. As such all carriers certified by the authorities responsible for regulatory oversight in these countries are on the list of banned operators. This comprises 51 operators from the Democratic Republic of Congo; 11 from Equatorial Guinea; three in Liberia; 13 in Sierra Leone; and six from Swaziland.

There are also nine carriers from other countries on the list of banned airlines, while specific operating restrictions are in place on three other carriers.

The EC says bans and operational restrictions are imposed only on the evidence of violations of criteria set out in the EC’s January published regulation on the subject.

“These criteria focus on the results of checks carried out in European airports; the use of poorly maintained, antiquated or obsolete aircraft; the inability of the airlines to rectify shortcomings identified during inspections; and the inability of the authority responsible for overseeing an airline to perform its task properly,” the EC says.

It says it invited all the airlines concerned to express their points of view and contacted the civil aviation authorities responsible for their regulatory oversight. Carriers believing they subsequently comply with the criteria can contact the EC or member states, and the Committee of Aviation Safety experts will assess the evidence.

The EC says the list will be updated regularly and at least every three months.

The full list has been published on the European Commission website and can be viewed at the following link.

http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/air/safety/doc/flywell/2006_03_22_flywell_list_en.pdf

Kieran Daly thinks the new list does almost nothing for safety. Read his blog.