Brussels, 10 July 2013
Aviation safety: Commission updates the European safety list of banned airlines
The European Commission has updated today for the 21st time the European list of airlines subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union, better known as "the EU air safety list". Following improvements in the safety situation in the Philippines, Philippine Airlines is the first airline from this country allowed back into European skies since 2010. The same is true for the Venezuelan airline Conviasa, which was banned in 2012. Progress was also noted in Libya but the Libyan authorities agreed that Libyan airlines would not be allowed to operate in Europe until they are fully recertified to the satisfaction of the European Union.
Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, said: "The EU air safety list was created for the protection of European skies and citizens, but it can also serve as a wake-up call to countries and airlines in need to get their safety house back in order. Today we confirmed our willingness to remove countries and airlines from the list if they show real commitment and capacity to implement international safety standards in a sustainable manner. Beside Philippines, Venezuela and Mauritania, good signs of progress are also coming from a number of other African countries."
Taking into account the improved safety oversight provided by the competent authorities of the Philippines, and the ability of the air carrier Philippine Airlines to ensure effective compliance with relevant aviation safety regulations, and following an on-site safety assessment visit last June, it was decided to lift the ban affecting this carrier registered in the Philippines. For all other carriers registered in the Philippines the ban remains.
Conviasa, registered in Venezuela, was also removed from the EU air safety list, following the successful resolution of the serious safety deficiencies which led to its ban from EU skies in April 2012. These improvements were proved during consultations with the Commission and the EU's Agency for aviation safety (EASA), and through recent audits performed by Spain and by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Venezuela.
In December 2012 Mauritania became the first country to be fully removed from the EU air safety list, where it was added in 2010. The improvements that led to this decision were verified during an on-site safety assessment visit conducted by the Commission in April 2013.
Consultations were held with the civil aviation authorities of Libya. Progress was noted by the Committee, but the Libyan civil aviation authorities agreed to maintain the voluntary restrictions applicable to all airlines licensed in Libya. This voluntary restriction excludes Libyan airlines from flying into the EU until when they will be fully recertified in accordance with international safety standards. The on-going implementation of these measures will remain under close monitoring by the Commission and the EU Air Safety Committee.
The Commission also praised the good progress in Sudan as well as in Mozambique.
The Commission recognised the efforts of the safety oversight authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Philippines, Russia and Sudan to reform their civil aviation system and to improve safety, in order to eventually become able to guarantee the effective application of international safety standards. The Commission continues to actively provide support and assistance for these reforms in cooperation with ICAO, EU Member States and EASA.
Further updates to the EU air safety list were due to the removal of some airlines that ceased to exist and the addition of new ones recently created in a number of banned countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mozambique, Sudan and the Philippines.
Finally, Annex B of the EU air safety list (which contains carriers allowed to operate in the EU but under strict limitations and conditions) was amended in order to reflect the renewal of the fleet of Air Madagascar (permitted to use an additional aircraft) and of Air Astana from Kazakhstan (the old Fokker aircraft not anymore in use were deleted from the Annex).
Today's Commission decision was based on the unanimous opinion of the EU Air Safety Committee in which safety experts from each of the 28 Member States participate, as well as from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and EASA.
The updated EU air safety list includes all airlines certified in 20 States, for a total of 278 airlines fully banned from EU skies: Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of 3 airlines which operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia (with the exception of 5 airlines), Kazakhstan (with the exception of one airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mozambique, Philippines (with the exception of one airline), Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Swaziland and Zambia. The list also includes 2 individual airlines: Blue Wing Airlines from Surinam and Meridian Airways from Ghana, for a grand total of 280 airlines.
Additionally, the list includes 10 airlines subject to operational restrictions and thus allowed to operate into the EU under strict conditions: Air Astana from Kazakhstan, Afrijet, Gabon Airlines, and SN2AG from Gabon, Air Koryo from the Democratic People Republic of Korea, Airlift International from Ghana, Air Service Comores from the Comores, Iran Air from Iran, TAAG Angolan Airlines from Angola and Air Madagascar from Madagasca.
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