Tuesday, November 27, 2012

■ MAURITANIA: Mauritania joins Libya, Madagascar in arguing their case to be struck off the EU Banned Carriers List.

Mauritania has joined a growing list of African countries trudging off to the Belgian capital  and seat of the European Union, Brussels, to argue their cases to be struck off the dreaded EU No Fly List. Last week, a Mauritanian delegation, led by the Minister of Equipment and Transport Yahya Ould Hadmine, held a meeting with officials from the European Union in Brussels to present their full report on air transport security and safety standards in Mauritania.

Nouakchott Airport, Mauritania
Nouakchott Airport, Mauritania (ATI)
Mauritania and its registered carriers (Mauritania Airlines International (L6)) were added to the List of air carriers banned in the European Union in 2008.

During the meeting, the Mauritanian delegation, consisting mainly of technicians and administrative staff specialising in civil aviation safety, discussed strategies for cooperation with its European counterpart in the field of air transport and ways of lifting the embargo, imposed four years ago.

The request to be removed from the No-Fly Ban comes after an inspection by the International Civil Aviation Organization "ICAO" in September, ranked Mauritania ranked seventh in terms of civil aviation safety in Africa.

Fellow African carriers Air Madagascar (MD) and Libya's Afriqiyah (8U) and Libyan Airlines (LN) too have been busy in Brussels attempting to get themselves off the No-Fly list, though so far, no countries have been removed, leaving some no choice but to re-register their commercial aircraft in Europe (see Equatorial Guinea's CEIBA Intercontinental) as a stop gap.

At the recently ended 44th Annual General Meeting of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) held in Johannesburg, the association stated that it was concerned "that the number of African countries in the EU list of banned airlines had continued to increase with none so far taken out of the list, despite concerted actions taken by African States to improve safety oversight."

Whilst the AFRAA did recognize that Africa still faces serious challenges particularly in the area of States Safety Oversight  Capacity, it did add that the the EU banned airlines list is adversely affecting African airlines while providing undue  competitive advantage to EU carriers while not contributing to the improvement of safety on the Continent.