Blacklist threat forced Yemenia to overhaul safety procedures

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Loss of a Yemenia Airbus A310 off the Comores follows an overhaul of safety procedures at the airline, carried out in a bid to avoid being blacklisted by the European Union.

The airline has been scrutinised in the past two years after concerns emerged during ramp inspections of its aircraft in Germany, France and Italy.

Yemenia drew up a corrective plan in May last year, according to European Commission records, but this initially did not satisfy European authorities - notably in the areas of maintenance and flight operations - and the carrier had to undertake a revision.

In a subsequent assessment last July the Commission said the carrier had an "effective" structure and organisation, and could "ensure an overall adherence" to safety policy. It added that it had an agreement with Airbus under which the airframer would provide training and monitoring for maintenance and aircraft operations.

The Commission acknowledged Yemenia's efforts to correct its safety deficiencies and, citing evidence of improvement during inspections, ruled that it should not be included on the blacklist of carriers banned from operating to Europe.

In an update in November 2008 the Commission revisited the situation at Yemenia and stated that the airline had been implementing corrections in maintenance and operational discipline "in a sustainable manner to avoid the recurrence of significant safety deficiencies", and concluded that no further action was necessary.

Yemenia is also included on IATA's registry of carriers which have passed the association's operational safety audit. The airline's registration expires in June 2010.