Yemenia and EgyptAir avoid EU blacklist as blanket ban widens

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Middle Eastern carriers Yemenia and EgyptAir have avoided being included on the European Commission's blacklist of banned airlines, having faced scrutiny over the past few months.

Yemenia's case has been discussed by the air safety committee responsible for drawing up the blacklist, notably following the fatal loss of an Airbus A310 in June, but it has concluded that the airline should remain unfettered.

EgyptAir had also been warned of possible restrictions over concerns about the number of safety issues turning up during inspections. The carrier does not appear on the latest blacklist update, issued today.

But the revised list extends a European blanket ban to another three states - the Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, and Djibouti - after the identification of deficiencies in safety oversight by the national regulators.

The extension means that practically all airlines from a total of 15 countries are forbidden from conducting European Union operations.

Three Ukrainian carriers have been lifted from the blacklist, although two of these - Ukraine Cargo Airways and Volare - were removed by default, having had their air operator's certificates withdrawn.

Ukraine's Motor-Sich Airlines has been removed from the list after the "receipt of certain information" from Ukrainian authorities, says the Commission.

It adds that Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines (UM Air) has had restrictions partially lifted, but is still only allowed to operate a single Boeing MD-83 within Europe.

"We cannot afford any compromises in air safety," says European transport commissioner Antonio Tajani.

"Our aim is not just to create a list of airlines that are dangerous. We are ready to help those countries to build up their technical and administrative capacity to guarantee the safety of civil aviation in their countries."

Progress on addressing concerns at Angolan flag-carrier TAAG has also resulted in the carrier's being permitted to operate four Boeing 737-700 aircraft on European services in addition to its Boeing 777s.