BRUSSELS – The European Commission announced on Thursday it had updated its non-European Air Safety List which bans airlines that have been deemed to fall below minimum safety standards.
The list, which contains 178 airlines, added Venezuela’s Avior Airlines to its blacklist, meaning its planes are now banned from operating in the European Union’s airspace.
“Our objective is to offer the highest level of safety in European skies,” said EC Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc. “The EU’s Air Safety List remains one of our most effective tools to achieve this,” she added.
Avior was the only airline the EC added to its latest EU Air Safety List, while it cleared both Ukraine’s Aviation Company Urga and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Mustique Airways, after carrying-out safety improvements since they were blacklisted in May 2017.
Bulc said that by taking such action, the EC was showing that “airlines can be quickly removed from the list when they tackle their safety issues.”
She concluded by saying that, “work pays off and I hope the example of Mustique Airways and Urga will inspire others.”
In 2015, nearly 918 million passengers used EU airports, roughly 26 percent of all passengers worldwide.
The reason to include the Venezuelan airline on the safety list was “unaddressed safety deficiencies detected by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) during the assessment for a third country operator,” said the EC statement.
Following this update, a total of 178 airlines are banned from EU skies, of which 172 airlines, certified in 16 states, are banned due to a lack of safety oversight by aviation authorities from these states.
Six individual airlines have been banned based on safety concerns with regards to the airlines themselves: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).
The EC has also subjected an additional six airlines to operational restrictions which can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).
This latest update of the Air Safety List is based on the unanimous opinion of aviation safety experts from the EU member states who met from Nov. 13-15 within the EU Air Safety Committee.
With this blacklist, the EC also seeks to warn European passengers of risks that can be taken when traveling outside the European Union.
Aviation contributes about 101 billion euros ($120 billion) to the EU’s GDP and, under current trends and adopted policies, air travel is expected to increase by about 60 percent from 2010-2030.