EU is planning global airline blacklist


Brussels – The European Union will propose a global blacklist of airlines that do not meet minimum safety standards in the wake of the Yemen Airways accident off the Comoros Island, the EU’s top transport official said Tuesday.

‘If we want to increase global (air transport) safety we need a worldwide blacklist,’ said EU Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani.

The commissioner said he would make his proposal during an upcoming meeting with the head of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

‘I will propose a worldwide blacklist similar to the one used in Europe,’ Tajani said.

Grouping 190 nations – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, including Yemen – the ICAO is a United Nations agency based in Canada responsible for flight safety. It also defines the rules for air accident investigations carried out by national authorities.

The EU has its own blacklist of more than 160 airlines that are deemed unfit to operate in Europe. However, this list does not currently include Yemen Airways, whose A310-300 aircraft with 153 people on board crashed in the Indian Ocean earlier on Tuesday.

However, Tajani said officials in Brussels would be questioning the airline with an eye to its possible inclusion in the EU’s next blacklist, which is due to be published in the coming weeks.

Commission sources said the airline had been on the EU’s ‘watch list’ between July 2007 and the end of 2008 because of ‘incomplete reporting.’ A total of 24 inspections on its aircraft were carried out within the space of three years, sources said.

The commissioner also noted that the airline had operated a change of aircraft after the flight left Marseille, in France, on its way to Moroni following a stop in Djibouti.

Tajani said that while the aircraft leaving France appeared to comply with EU safety rules, the commission could not vouch for the safety of the new aircraft.

A global blacklist would address the fact that ‘airlines are safe while they operate in Europe, but less safe when they leave the EU’s territory,’ Tajani said.

As things stand, ‘we can’t control what happens in Africa or Asia, we can only impose rules on air companies which travel in Europe,’ Tajani said.

On June 1, an Air France Airbus travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris dived into the Atlantic, killing all 228 people on board.

Bad weather has been blamed for both accidents.

Meanwhile, the Cologne-based European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it planned to carry out safety inspections on non-European airlines as of 2011.