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European Commission Updates Its Airline Blacklist

by Ulrika Lomas, for, Brussels

18 November 2008

The European Commission (EC) has adopted the ninth update of the blacklist of airlines that are banned from flying into the countries of the European Union (EU) due to safety concerns.

"The blacklist is essentially a tool that ensures safer skies in Europe. Through this list Europeans and non-Europeans alike flying in Europe know that there exists a certain degree of safety on which they can rest assured. The European Commission will pursue actively its dialogue with all States – within and outside the Union – their civil aviation authorities and their airlines, to ensure that they conform to internationally required levels of air safety on a sustainable basis", explained Antonio Tajani, Commission Vice-President in charge of transport.

With this update, the Commission has imposed an operating ban on the main air carrier from Cambodia, Siem Reap Airways International. The airline does not operate in compliance with the Cambodian safety regulations nor does it meet the standards of the ICAO.

Significant concerns have also been expressed by the ICAO with regard to the ability of the Cambodian civil aviation authorities to implement and enforce the international safety standards.

In view of the "significant safety concerns" contained in the ICAO's last audit report on Angola, the Commission decided to extend the operating ban already imposed on the carrier TAAG Angola Airlines to all operators from that country.

The Commission thus prohibited any airline certified in Angola from carrying out international regular or charter air services into the EU. The Commission will continue close consultations with Angolan civil aviation authorities on the satisfactory completion of the action plan of correctives measures and the re-certification of all carriers.

Additionally, the Commission has also decided to maintain the ban on all operations of Ukraine Mediterranean Airlines and Ukraine Cargo Airways as the airlines have not proven the successful implementation of corrective actions for the permanent resolution of previously detected safety deficiencies. Together with member states, the Commission will visit both carriers before considering any modification of the operating ban.

The Commission also urged the authorities of Ukraine to further strengthen the enforcement of relevant safety standards.

With regard to Nouvelle Air Affaires certified in Gabon, the Commission decided to maintain the full operating ban already imposed on the air carrier. There is no evidence so far that the company's plan of corrective measures has been approved and verified by the Gabonese civil aviation authorities, according to the EC.

The Commission also examined the action plan addressing the exercise of oversight in the Philippines, and intends to carry out with member states a safety assessment of the Philippine civil aviation authorities in early 2009.

Henceforth, the Community list imposes a ban on all carriers from Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Gabon save for Gabon Airlines and Afrijet, whose operations are frozen to the current level under certain strict conditions.

The carrier Siem Reap Airways International from Cambodia is added to the list of seven individual carriers whose operations remain fully banned in the European Union: Air Koryo from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; Air West from Sudan; Ariana Afghan Airlines from Afghanistan; Silverback Cargo Freighters from Rwanda; Ukraine Cargo Airways, Ukraine Mediterranean Airlines and Volare Aviation from Ukraine.

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