The European Commission has updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. The update clears Kazakh carrier Air Astana, but adds Iraqi Airways.
Only days after the adoption of a new Aviation Strategy for Europe, the European Commission has today updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. This list is essential to guarantee the highest level of air safety for European citizens, which is an absolute priority of the Commission. It complements the new authorisation scheme for third country operators, which is being phased-in since June 2015 and will further boost air safety while cutting red-tape.
The updated EU Air Safety List clears Kazakh carrier Air Astana, whose operations in the EU had been restricted since 2009. On the other hand it adds Iraqi Airways due to unaddressed safety concerns.
EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, “Offering the highest level of air safety to European citizens is a priority of the Commission. On Monday we updated the EU’s safety rules as part of the Aviation Strategy and today we are updating the EU’s Air Safety List. I am satisfied that we were able to clear Air Astana after six years of work. In the interest of European citizens, we are however forced to maintain other Kazakh carriers on the list and to add Iraqi Airways.”
No air carriers from Thailand were added to the Air Safety List at this time. The Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are willing to continue to work with the Thai authorities to enhance aviation safety in the country. The Commission and EASA will however closely monitor future developments and, if the protection of air passengers against safety risks so requires, the Commission could then propose to include one or more air carriers from Thailand in the Air Safety List.
The updated EU Air Safety List – which will be published on 11 December – includes all airlines, to a total of 228, certified in 20 states. This is because of a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states: Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of one airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Benin, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of 2 airlines which operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia (with the exception of 4 airlines), Kazakhstan (with the exception of Air Astana, which is being cleared today), the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Zambia. Additionally, the list also includes two individual airlines, based on safety concerns with these air carriers: Iraqi Airways (Iraq) and Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), bringing the overall total of airlines banned from EU skies to 230.
The list also includes seven airlines which are subject to operational restrictions. These airlines can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran), TAAG Angolan Airlines (Angola) and Air Madagascar (Madagascar).
Pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 , the EU Air Safety List is regularly updated by safety experts from the Member States. They meet at list twice a year within the EU Air Safety Committee (ASC), which is chaired by the European Commission with the support of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). In cases of emergency, a specific procedure is foreseen. To date, all decisions on imposing and lifting restrictions have always been reached with the unanimous support of the ASC. This enhances the credibility of the Air Safety List and ensures that Member States take collective responsibility.
Assessment is made against international safety standards, and notably the standards promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The European Commission and the Air Safety Committee use a variety of sources of information when assessing whether or not international safety standards are respected. These sources include ICAO, FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration), EASA and ramp inspections’ reports, as well as information gathered by individual Member States and the Commission itself.
Today’s update of the Air Safety List is based on the unanimous opinion of the EU Air Safety Committee, which met from 24 to 26 November 2015. It will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 11 December.