The European Commission has updated for the 23rd time the European list of airlines subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union — better known as “the EU air safety list”. On the basis of safety information from various sources and hearings before the EU Air Safety Committee, the Commission decided to remove all airlines from Swaziland from the EU safety list. There is also positive news for the Philippines, where Cebu Pacific Air is allowed to operate to the EU, and for Kazakhstan, where national carrier Air Astana is allowed to increase the number of its flights to the EU.
Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for mobility and transport, said: “When countries do what it takes to ensure the safety of their aviation industry, it is important that the EU recognizes these efforts. The proof is the aviation safety progress we are witnessing in Africa. Swaziland is now the second country, after Mauritania, to be removed from the EU safety list. Promising progress was also noted in Zambia, Mozambique, Sudan, and Libya, as well as in the Philippines and Kazakhstan.”
The new list replaces and updates the previous one, adopted in December 2013, and can be consulted on the Commission’s website (1). As from today, the list can be easily consulted with a new online search tool (2).
In addition to the airlines from Swaziland, also Cebu Pacific Air from the Philippines was removed from the list. Following last year’s removal of Philippine Airlines from the safety list, this is seen as further proof of the gradual improvement in air safety in the Philippines. Kazakhstan’s Air Astana saw the restrictions lifted on the amount of flights it can operate since 2009 to the EU. All other Kazakh airlines remain banned until the Kazakh authorities have implemented a sustainable system to effectively oversee the safety of these carriers. Progress was noted in Libya, which will maintain its voluntary restrictions not to fly to the EU — which they have applied since the Libyan revolution — as well as in a number of other countries whose carriers are on the safety list, such as Sudan, Mozambique and Zambia. It is hoped that the continuation of this progress could lead to positive decisions in the future.
The Commission decision is based on the unanimous opinion of the EU Air Safety Committee, which met from 25 until 27 March 2014. The EU Air Safety Committee consists of aviation safety experts from the Commission, from each of the 28 Member States of the Union, as well as from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The Commission decision also received a positive opinion from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
The updated EU air safety list includes all airlines certified in 20 states, for a total of 294 airlines fully banned from EU skies: Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of 3 airlines which operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia (with the exception of 5 airlines), Kazakhstan (with the exception of one airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Philippines (with the exception of two airlines), Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sudan and Zambia. The list also includes two individual airlines: Blue Wing Airlines from Suriname and Meridian Airways from Ghana, for an overall total of 296 airlines.
Additionally, the list includes 10 airlines subject to operational restrictions and thus allowed to operate into the EU under strict conditions: Air Astana from Kazakhstan, Afrijet, Gabon Airlines, and SN2AG from Gabon, Air Koryo from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Airlift International from Ghana, Air Service Comores from the Comoros, Iran Air from Iran, TAAG Angolan Airlines from Angola and Air Madagascar from Madagascar.