Eritrean Air Carriers Barred From EU; Ban On Mauritania, Jordan Carriers Lifted

Due to significant safety concerns, the European Commission on Tuesday added air carriers certified in Eritrea to a European list of air carriers which bans or restricts their operations within the European Union.

On the other hand, following "exceptional progress" made in the safety situation in Mauritania, all air carriers certified in that African country were removed from the "EU air safety list." Jordanian carrier Jordan Aviation was also removed from the list.

The European Commission said in a press release that although progress was also noted in Libya, the Libyan authorities agreed that its carriers would not be permitted to operate to Europe until they are fully re-certified to the satisfaction of the Commission.

EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said: "The Commission is ready to spare no effort to assist countries affected by the safety list in building technical and administrative capacity to overcome the difficulties in the area of safety as quickly and as efficiently as possible. I am glad that one country and several airlines have been removed from the list. This is important progress. But safety must always come first and we cannot accept any compromise in this area, hence the decision on Eritrea."

The 20th update of the European list of air carriers which are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union replaces the previous one established in April this year.

The Commission said that as this is the first time a full ban affecting all air carriers from a State is removed, Mauritania committed to authorize flights to the Union only under strict conditions.

The updated European air safety list also removed certain carriers which ceased to exist or added new carriers recently created in the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and Rwanda. No carriers of Rwanda and of Honduras are mentioned on the list anymore.

The Commission recognized the efforts of the safety oversight authorities of Aruba, Indonesia, Libya, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, the Philippines and Russia to reform their civil aviation system and notably to improve safety to guarantee that international safety standards are effectively and consistently applied. The Commission offered support for these reforms in cooperation with ICAO, EU Member-States and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), to help some of these countries to get off the list when the safety situation there improves.

The Commission has mandated EASA to carry out a series of technical assistance missions to support the competent authorities of a number of States in their efforts to enhance safety.

Tuesday's Commission decision was based on the unanimous opinion of the Air Safety Committee, composed of representatives of the 27 EU Member-States, Croatia, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and of EASA.

The updated European air safety list includes all carriers certified in Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of three carriers which operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia (with the exception of six carriers), Kazakhstan (with the exception of one carrier which operates under restrictions and conditions), Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mozambique, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Swaziland and Zambia.

In all, operations of 287 known air carriers in these 20 countries are fully banned in the European Union.

The list also includes three individual carriers: Blue Wing Airlines from Surinam, Meridian Airways from Ghana and Conviasa from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Additionally, the list includes ten air carriers which are subject to operational restrictions and are thus allowed to operate into the EU under strict conditions. They are, Air Astana from Kazakhstan; Afrijet, Gabon Airlines and SN2AG from Gabon; Air Koryo from North Korea, Airlift International from Ghana, Air Service Comores, Iran Air, TAAG Angolan Airlines and Air Madagascar.

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