European regulators are expecting by the end of this year to adopt legislation to create a ‘blacklist’ of suspect carriers as well as provide passengers with more information regarding the identity of airlines operating specific flights.
Representatives of the European parliament have given the go-ahead to introduce the blacklist, which will effectively ban from the whole of Europe airlines which fall short of international safety standards.
A compromise agreement on the legislation means the first reading of the proposed legislation will be accepted without amendment. The regulation will come into effect 20 days after its publication in the European Union’s Official Journal, expected in early 2006.
Under the scheme each member state will tell the European Commission which carriers are banned from operating in its territory. This information is to be provided within a month of the regulation coming into effect.
Within a month of receiving the information the EC will draw up a blacklist based on a set of common criteria. Information on the restricted carriers will then be sent to all European Union member states.
The blacklist will be published on the Internet and in the Official Journal but organisations such the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), civil aviation authorities, companies selling air tickets, and the air transport industry itself will be responsible for drawing it to the public’s attention.
European transport commissioner Jacques Barrot says: “European citizens will all be able to consult the blacklist of airlines that do not meet European safety criteria.”
Carriers will be included on the blacklist if there is verified evidence of “serious” safety deficiencies, or a “lack of ability or willingness” to address such problems or enforce safety standards – either from the airline itself or its oversight authority.
“Air carriers concerned should be given the opportunity of being heard – if necessary using an urgency procedure,” says the European parliament in a statement.
The blacklist will be revised at least once every three months to add or remove carriers. Member states and EASA will need to communicate the necessary information for updating the list.
But the parliament adds: “The common blacklist does not preclude a member state from reacting to an unforeseen safety problem by introducing an immediate operating ban in respect of its own territory.
“Member states may also impose an operating ban on an air carrier not included on the list, in view of a safety problem specifically affecting that member state.”
The proposal, originally put forward in February this year, will also reinforce information rights by forcing tour operators and other air ticket sales representatives to disclose the identity of an operating carrier to passengers.
“Where the identity of the operating air carrier is not known at the time of reservation, the air carriage contactor should ensure that the passenger is informed as soon as such identity is established,” says the parliament’s statement, adding that passengers should be updated at check-in or before boarding if this information changes.
Passengers will have the right to be reimbursed or re-routed if their flight is cancelled as a result of the carrier’s being placed on the European blacklist after reservation.
Members of the European parliament voted 577 to 16 to adopt the proposal. There were 31 abstentions.
“Europe will now have its own means of imposing flight bans and restrictions on all airlines that are considered to be dangerous,” says the EC. “These measures can be imposed without discrimination on all carriers, regardless of whether they are European or non-European.
“The new regulation will give all passengers in Europe exactly the same guarantees on safety. It should also act as a deterrent to airlines with lax safety standards as well as providing a co-ordinated approach to combat the potential confusion of having separate national blacklists.”

Source: Flight Daily News