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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

■ EU BLACK LIST: Who's hot, who's not in Guinea, the DRC, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique and Sudan.

EU No Fly ListThe following is an extract from the latest Official Journal of the European Union detailing the group's most recent decisions and activities, with particular reference paid to the latest updates made to its ominous Banned Operators List. Among the countries that argued their cases to be struck off the list in Brussels (and in one instance, chose to remain on the list) were the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique and Sudan. The extract lists the various changes, including carriers that have now been either certified or struck off the countries' respective verified operator's lists, that each regulatory authority has implemented with respect to EU & ICAO minimums.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Air carriers certified in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been listed in Annex A since March 2006. Following a recent initiative by the competent authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo (ANAC) to re-establish active consultations with the Commission and EASA, they provided the necessary documentary evidence to allow for a comprehensive update of the air carriers listed in Annex A.

The competent authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo informed the Commission, by letter, on 12 June 2013 that the following carriers have been granted operating licences:
  • Air Baraka, 
  • Air Castilla, 
  • Air Malebo, 
  • Armi Global Business Airways, 
  • Biega Airways, 
  • Blue Sky, 
  • Ephrata Airlines, 
  • Eagles Services, 
  • GTRA, 
  • Mavivi Air Trade, 
  • Okapi Airlines, 
  • Patron Airways, 
  • Pegasus, 
  • Sion Airlines
  • Waltair Aviation
Since the competent authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo did not provide evidence that the safety oversight of those air carriers is ensured in compliance with international safety standards, on the basis of the common criteria, it is assessed that all the air carriers of the updated list should be included in Annex A.

The competent authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo also informed by letter of 12 June 2013 that the following air carriers all previously listed in Annex A do not hold an operating licence:
  • Bravo Air Congo, 
  • Entreprise World Airways (EWA), 
  • Hewa Bora Airways (HBA), 
  • Mango Aviation, 
  • TMK Air Commuter
  • Zaabu International
Consequently, it is assessed that those air carriers should be removed from Annex A.

The competent authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo also explained that, in accordance with the country's legal framework, air transport operations require both an operating licence and an AOC to conduct this type of operations, and that so far none of the existing operators complies with both requirements. The five-phase ICAO certification process has meanwhile been started in April 2013 for 5 operators (Korongo, FlyCAA, Air Tropiques, ITAB and Kinavia) and is expected to be completed by the end of September 2013. At the end of this certification process, ANAC will provide a list of all the air operators duly certified and in possession of a valid AOC.

The Commission noted the commitment of the competent authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular of the Minister for Transport, and encourages them to continue their efforts towards the establishment of a civil aviation oversight system in compliance with international safety standards, while remaining committed to develop further the active dialogue re-established recently.


Guinea

Formal consultations were initiated with the competent authorities of the Republic of Guinea in December 2012 following the safety findings raised by ICAO during its audit conducted in April 2012, which raised a Significant Safety Concern (SSC) regarding the certification of air operators.

As a result of the submission of a CAP, and its subsequent acceptance and validation by the ICAO, the ICAO announced on 29 May 2013 that it had removed the SSC.

A consultation meeting took place in Brussels in January 2013 between the Commission, assisted by EASA, and the competent authorities of the Republic of Guinea. During that meeting, the competent authorities of the Republic of Guinea comprehensively briefed on the latest developments regarding the status of the implementation of the CAP filed with ICAO in December 2012.

According to the competent authorities of the Republic of Guinea, the air carriers Sahel Aviation Service, Eagle Air, Probiz Guinée and Konair are in the process of recertification. None of them flies into the Union airspace. Those authorities also informed that the AOC of the following air carriers has been suspended:
  • GR-Avia, 
  • Elysian Air, 
  • Brise Air, 
  • Sky Guinée Airlines 
  • Sky Star Air
The competent authorities of the Republic of Guinea agreed to keep the Commission informed about any significant development concerning progress in the implementation of ICAO standards, allowing for a regular monitoring of the situation.


Libya

Consultations with the competent authorities of Libya (‧LYCAA‧) continue with the aim of confirming that Libya is progressing in its work to reform its civil aviation safety system, and in particular ensuring that the safety oversight of all air carriers certified in Libya is in compliance with international safety standards.

On 25 April 2013 the LYCAA provided a report of the re-certification activities conducted on the air carrier Libyan Airlines. The report described a five phase process in line with ICAO recommendations but did not provide any detailed evidence of the associated inspection activities. The Commission sought further details and on 29 April 2013 the LYCAA provided a resumé of the findings raised together with the actions taken by Libyan Airlines to close the findings in the sampled areas.

On 4 June 2013 the LYCAA wrote to the Commission informing them that Libyan Airlines would not now be ready for consideration for a lifting of restrictions citing a change in management of the airline and the consequent need to assess the impact of these changes on the air carrier’s operational safety.

On 26 June 2013 the Air Safety Committee heard presentations from the LYCAA. The LYCAA briefed the committee on the actions taken to date and the progress with the recertification of Libyan air carriers. They explained that they were not in a position to recommend any Libyan air carrier to be released from the current restrictions. They provided time-scales concerning when they believed the air carriers would complete the certification process. They said that the accident report concerning the Afiqiyah Airways Airbus A330 accident had been published, and that the LYCAA was in discussion with ICAO and a number of National Aviation Authorities to provide additional technical assistance.

The LYCAA confirmed explicitly to the Commission and the Air Safety Committee that they would retain the current restrictions on all air carriers until such time as a full five stage recertification has been completed and any significant findings closed, only following which, in agreement with the Commission and following a hearing of the Air Safety Committee, individual air carriers could be permitted to recommence commercial flights to the Union.

Furthermore, the Commission and the Air Safety Committee reiterated that for each air carrier recertified, the LYCAA must submit to the Commission detailed information on the recertification process and to meet with the Commission and Member States to discuss in detail the relevant audits, findings, remedial actions taken and closure actions, together with details of the plans for continuing oversight before any agreement about the relaxation of restrictions. Should it not be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Commission and the Member States that the recertification process had been effectively completed and sustainable continued oversight is in place in accordance with ICAO standards, the Commission would be compelled to take immediate measures to prevent air carriers from operating in the Union, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.


Madagascar

The air carrier Air Madagascar is subject to operational restrictions and is listed in Annex B pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 390/2011. On 24 May 2013, the air carrier Air Madagascar made the request to add the aircraft of type Boeing B737 with registration mark (MSN 24081 | 5R-MFL) to the list of aircraft of type Boeing B737 that are already mentioned under Annex B.

Air Madagascar stated and provided evidence that the safety performance of its fleet has improved. The competent authorities of Madagascar (‧ACM‧) stated that, with regard to the operations conducted with the aircraft of type Boeing B737, they are satisfied with the current level of compliance demonstrated by Air Madagascar with respect to ICAO requirements. Member States and EASA confirmed that no specific concern arose from ramp checks carried out at Union airports in the framework of the SAFA programme.

Taking into account the safety performance of the operations conducted by Air Madagascar with the aircraft of type Boeing B737 and in accordance with the common criteria, the Commission, following the opinion of the Air Safety Committee, considers that the aircraft of type Boeing B737 with registration mark 5R-MFL should be permitted to fly into the Union. Consequently, Annex B should be amended to allow the operation of the aircraft of type Boeing B737 with registration mark 5R-MFL.

Member States will continue to verify the effective compliance with relevant safety standards through the prioritisation of ramp inspections to be carried out on aircraft of Air Madagascar pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 965/2012.


Mauritania

All air carriers certified in Mauritania were removed from Annex A in December 2012 (7) in the light of a number of factors: the major progress reported by the competent authorities of Mauritania (‧ANAC‧) in the rectification of the deficiencies identified by ICAO concerning compliance with international standards, the rectification of the deficiencies identified in the initial certification of the air carrier Mauritania Airlines International (‧MAI‧), the confirmation that MAI will resume flights to the Union only to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain after February 2013, and the Commission's commitment to carry out an on-site safety assessment visit to confirm the satisfactory implementation of the measures reported by ANAC and MAI.

The Commission conducted the on-site aviation safety assessment visit to Mauritania between 14 and 18 April 2013, with the assistance of EASA and the technical support of the Member States.

During the visit, ANAC provided the assessment team with evidence of its strong commitment and capacity to comply with ICAO aviation safety standards and to assume its responsibilities concerning the certification and surveillance of air carriers under its responsibility in a sustainable manner. In particular, the assessment team considered that ANAC showed that progress had been made in the implementation of its CAP aimed at complying with ICAO standards, that it has the necessary qualified staff, regulations and procedures, that it handles and implements a comprehensive and appropriate surveillance plan and that it has in place a system aimed at addressing identified safety concerns. Those considerations were drawn taking into consideration the current limited size and level of activity of the airline industry in Mauritania and the recent restructuring of ANAC.

MAI was also visited by the assessment team, which found evidence of the airline's ability to comply with ICAO aviation safety standards for air operations, especially as regards airworthiness, qualification and training, manuals and safety procedures and identification and resolution of safety issues identified during internal and external control, such as in the monitoring activities performed by ANAC.

However, the assessment team also found that ANAC and MAI needed to continue the effective implementation of certain international requirements, particularly in the areas of specific and recurrent training of technical personnel, customization and updating of manuals, procedures and check lists, systematic monitoring and documentation of all continuous oversight activities, improved system of incident reporting and analysis. MAI should also further implement its Safety Management System (‧SMS‧) and flight data analysis.

ANAC and MAI were heard by the Air Safety Committee on 26 June 2013. 

During the meeting, ANAC and MAI provided details about progress made in view of addressing the recommendations identified during the on-site visit. ANAC reported of updates to their procedures, check list, training and oversight plan and training programme. It also provided evidence of the performance of targeted inspections on MAI, of a wide awareness campaign concerning incident reporting and informed of increased access to technical information from engine manufacturers. ANAC explained that it was exercising a close oversight of MAI, including numerous ramp checks, and taking firm enforcement actions when needed.

MAI reported that it had initiated its flights to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 8 May 2013 and that it had also drafted an action plan in view of addressing all recommendations raised by the assessment team. Most actions of the plan were closed, including, among others, updating of manuals, new procedures and nomination of the quality and safety management post holder. MAI recognized that the implementation of the SMS was progressing but not already fully operational.

The first two ramp inspections carried out by Spain on MAI aircraft, on 8 and 22 May 2013 showed a number of findings, mainly regarding maintenance conditions, but their number and gravity decreased during a third ramp inspection performed on 12 June. Spain confirmed that MAI had provided information for the closing of open findings, which were still under assessment by Spain.

The Air Safety Committee welcomed the improvements made by ANAC and MAI in the implementation of international safety standards and encouraged them to continue improving with the same determination. ANAC and MAI were requested to provide regular reports to the Commission, at least twice a year, about their progress in the implementation of the ICAO requirements and in addressing the recommendations still open, particularly with regard to the incident reporting and analysis system in ANAC and the SMS implementation and flight data analysis in MAI. ANAC commited to inform the Commisison regarding new commercial airlines which would be certified by ANAC.

Member States will verify the effective compliance with relevant safety standards through the prioritisation of ramp inspections to be carried out on aircraft of air carriers licensed in Mauritania pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 965/2012.

Should the results of ramp checks or any other relevant safety information indicate that international safety standards are not being met, the Commission would be forced to take action in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005.


Mozambique

The competent authorities of Mozambique (Institute of Civil Aviation of Mozambique – ‧IACM‧) and representatives of the air carrier LAM - Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique (LAM) met with the Commission and EASA in Brussels on 31 May 2013. IACM comprehensively briefed on the current status of implementation of the CAP filed with ICAO. LAM briefed at length on the current status of adoption of international safety standards in their structure and daily operations as well as on their expansion plans.

The competent authorities of Mozambique presented in detail the internal structure and staffing of their organisation and described the scale and the substance of their activities. The various streams of past and on-going activities, together with the respective timelines, were explored and put in the context of the CAP agreed with ICAO. Most of those actions have an implementation deadline of mid-June 2013. 

The number and volume of the actions, as well as the tight deadlines, demonstrate a firm commitment by the authorities, but might need rescheduling in order to allow for sustainable implementation. The authorities appeared fully aware of this and are in the process of reviewing some of the deadlines in the CAP, a revised version of which will soon be filed with ICAO. The most important areas which will only be addressed in 2014 or 2015 are related to specific aspects in the legal framework, residual organisational matters in the authority's internal structure and airworthiness topics. 

All air operators have gone through a 5-step re-certification process, at the end of which 8 operators are fully certified namely: 
  • Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique LAM S.A.
  • Moçambique Expresso SARL MEX, 
  • CFM-TTA S.A., 
  • Kaya Airlines Lda, 
  • CR Aviation, 
  • Coastal Aviation, 
  • CFA-Mozambique S.A., 
  • TTA SARL
However, the following five have had their AOCs suspended: 
  • Emilio Air Charter Lda, 
  • Aero-Servicos SARL, 
  • Helicopteros Capital Lda, 
  • UNIQUE Air Charter Lda, 
  • ETA Air Charter Lda
The representatives of LAM made a detailed presentation of the company, including an outline of its internal structure, staffing, and scale of operations, and described the training activities as well as the various operational partnerships the company has entered into. 

The airline has established strategic partnerships with other airlines in Portugal, Kenya, South Africa, Angola, Zambia and Ethiopia (Moçambique Expresso MEX is a 100% owned feeder airline subsidiary), training organisations (in South Africa and Ethiopia) and maintenance organisations (in Portugal, Brazil, South Africa and Kenya). The internal safety management systems were described together with the planned deployment of the next phases. Phase I (Planning and Organisation) has mostly been completed up to 2011 (some on-going activities will be concluded in 2014). Phase II (Reactive Processes) has mostly been implement between 2005 and 2009, with 2 processes to be completed by 2014. Most of the actions pertaining to Phase III (Proactive and Predictive Processes) are on-going, with completion date set to 2014-2015, while 3 of the processes have been implemented in 2009. Most of Phase IV (Operational Safety Assurance & Continuous Improvement) is planned for deployment in 2014-2015, with one process completed in 2009.

LAM also briefed on their expansion strategy and plans, including new routes and fleet evolution.


Sudan

Consultations with the Sudan Civil Aviation Authority (‧SCAA‧) continued with the aim of confirming that Sudan is progressing in its work to reform its civil aviation safety system in order to address the safety findings raised by ICAO during the USOAP audit of 2006 and the ICVM audit conducted in December 2011. Those audits led to a SSC related to the certification process for the issuance of air operator certificates.

On 3 January 2013, the SCAA informed the Commission that the SCAA had improved its oversight capabilities, including the system for the certification and supervision of air carriers, maintenance organisations and approved training organisations. Therefore, following an ICVM audit in May 2012, ICAO had removed the SSC.

Subsequently, the Commission, assisted by EASA, held a meeting with the SCAA on 29 April 2013. 

The SCAA briefed that it was now an autonomous organisation with its own budget, that improvements to the Sudan aviation safety system had been possible through the use of external expertise, and that it was actively recruiting locally and raising salaries to be competitive with the industry.

The SCAA stated that only 6 air carriers were now certified to operate international flights namely: 
  • Sudan Airways, 
  • Marsland Aviation, 
  • Badr Airlines, 
  • Sun Air Aviation, 
  • Nova Airways
  • Tarco Air 
A further 7 air carriers are restricted to domestic operations. The SCAA briefed on the results of the ICVM in May 2012, and noted that the level of effective implementation of ICAO Standards was now high, particularly in Flight Operations and Airworthiness.

The SCAA further informed that they had conducted a risk assessment concerning the continued operation of old, Soviet-built, aircraft which resulted in the grounding of 50% of those aircraft on the Sudan Register.

On 4 June 2013 the SCAA provided to the Commission a copy of their AOC Register showing 18 air carriers with AOCs, of which 6 where currently suspended. 

They also provided details of the revocation of the AOCs of:
  • Attico Airlines (AOC No. 023); 
  • Sudanese States Aviation Company (AOC No. 010); 
  • Azza Air Transport (AOC No 012); 
  • Almajarah Aviation (AOC No. 049); 
  • Helilift (AOC No. 042); 
  • Feeder Airlines (AOC No. 050). 
On the basis of the information provided by the SCAA Annex A should be updated accordingly.

The SCAA made a presentation to the Air Safety Committee on 25 June 2013. The SCAA was accompanied by the Director General of the Arab Civil Aviation Commission (‧ACAC‧), who acknowledged that the EU Safety List can act as a catalyst for states to address systemic safety issues, noted the benefit of States working together in a regional context and highlighted the support which ACAC is providing in this respect.

The SCAA, in addition to the points made during the meeting on 29 April 2013, briefed the Committee about the plan for inspecting staff to attend the ICAO Inspector Course in July and August 2013 and the removal, planned for July 2013, of all aircraft of types Tupolev Tu134 and Antonov An12 from the Sudanese aircraft register. The SCAA also briefed that all air carriers in Sudan are expected to be compliant with safety requirements by the end of 2013.

The Air Safety Committee welcomed the major progress reported by the competent authorities of Sudan in the rectification of the deficiencies identified by ICAO but recognised that there was still some way to go to arrive at a situation where both the SCAA and the air carriers under its supervision will be in a position to ensure full compliance with ICAO standards. The Commission will therefore continue to closely monitor the progress made by the SCAA with a view to reviewing the case at future Air Safety Committee meetings.

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