Libyan carriers stay banned but EU blacklist frees Mauritania

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Libyan operators will remain banned from European airspace despite progress on overcoming the safety issues which led to a voluntary prohibition earlier this year.

But the European Commission has, for the first time, lifted a blanket ban on a state, easing the restrictions on Mauritania.

The latest revision to the Commission's blacklist states that Libyan authorities, following "intense" discussions, have agreed to maintain the voluntary restrictions which had originally been imposed until 22 November.

"Implementation of the measures decided by the Libyan authorities remains subject to close monitoring," adds the Commission.

Its blacklist revision also includes a blanket ban on all Eritrean operators. The Commission says this is the result of an "outstanding safety concern" and the "absence of adequate mitigating measures" by Eritrean authorities.

But the Commission has removed the blanket ban on Mauritania, it says, following "exceptional progress" on safety improvement. It has also lifted restrictions on the Middle Eastern carrier Jordan Aviation.

Mauritania becomes the first country to be freed from an all-inclusive ban on carriers' operating to Europe - although the Commission points out that Mauritanian regulators will only authorise flights to the EU under "strict conditions".

European transport commissioner Siim Kallas says the decisions mark "important progress" but adds that the Commission "cannot accept any compromise".

Blanket bans remain in place on 20 countries. The blacklist also features three individual airlines which are banned outright as well as another 10 which are subject to operating restrictions.