Wednesday, December 5, 2012

■ BELGIUM: EU removes Mauritania from Ban List; adds all Eritrean registered carriers. Libya voluntarily retains restrictions on Libyan registered carriers.

European Commission
The European Commission has announced the 20th Revised Update to its Banned Operators Air List which has seen some "promotions" and "demotions" for African airlines as a whole. All operators from Mauritania have been removed from the Ban List. Air Madagascar (MD) is still only allowed to operate into the EU albeit under strict conditions (as per the previous No Fly List). All Rwandan carriers have been removed from the list. Libya has agreed to maintain the voluntary restrictions applicable to all air carriers licensed in Libya whilst an operating ban on all air carriers certified in Eritrea has been imposed.
EU Banned Operators
The Commission stated that, because of important safety concerns, air carriers certified in Eritrea have been added to the list. On the other hand, following improvement in the safety situation in Mauritania, it was possible to remove from the list all air carriers certified in Mauritania. Progress was also noted in Libya but the Libyan authorities agreed that Libyan carriers would not be permitted to operate to Europe until they are fully recertified to the satisfaction of the Commission.

Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, 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 new list replaces the previous one established in April 2012 and can be consulted on the Commission’s website.

All air carriers certified in Mauritania were removed from the list following exceptional progress achieved by the competent authorities and the prospect of an on-site verification visit to be conducted by the Commission soon. This progress was acknowledged by two successful missions conducted on site by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). As this is the first time a full ban affecting all air carriers from a State is removed, Mauritania committed to authorise flights to the Union only under strict conditions.

In order to prevent risks, an operating ban on all air carriers certified in Eritrea was necessary due to an outstanding safety concern notified by ICAO and to the absence of adequate mitigating measures taken by the competent authorities of Eritrea.

Intense consultations were held with the civil aviation authorities of Libya and with the Libyan Minister of Transport. As a result, the Libyan civil aviation authorities agreed to maintain the voluntary restrictions applicable to all air carriers licensed in Libya, which exclude them from flying into the EU until these air carriers are fully recertified in accordance with international safety standards. Implementation of the measures decided by the Libyan authorities remains subject to close monitoring by the Commission. See this post relating to Libyan Airlines' CRJ900 fleet.

The European air safety list was also updated to remove certain carriers which ceased to exist or to add new carriers recently created in a number of countries: 
  • The Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines and Rwanda. As a consequence, no carriers of Rwanda and of Honduras are mentioned on the list anymore.
Finally, the Commission recognises the efforts of the safety oversight authorities of Aruba, Indonesia, Libya, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Philippines and Russia to reform the civil aviation system and notably to improve safety to guarantee that international safety standards are effectively and consistently applied. The Commission is ready to provide active further support for these reforms in cooperation with ICAO, EU Member States and EASA, in order to help some of these countries to get off the list when the safety situation will have further improved.

The Commission remains fully committed to supporting better compliance with international safety standards whenever possible and has mandated the European Aviation Safety Agency 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.

Today’s Commission decision was based on the unanimous opinion of the Air Safety Committee, composed of representatives of the 27 Members States of the EU, Croatia, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and of EASA.

The updated European air safety list includes all carriers certified in 20 States, accounting for 287 known air carriers, whose operations are fully banned in the European Union: 
  • 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, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Swaziland and Zambia.
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 10 air carriers which are subject to operational restrictions and are thus allowed to operate into the EU under strict conditions: 
  • Air Astana from Kazakhstan as well as Afrijet, Gabon Airlines and SN2AG from Gabon as mentioned before, Air Koryo from the Democratic People Republic of Korea, Airlift International from Ghana, Air Service Comores, Iran Air, TAAG Angolan Airlines and Air Madagascar.
Source [The European Commission]