The European Union banned all Benin- based airlines, six Kazakh carriers, a Thai operator and a fourth Ukrainian one from flying in the bloc under the latest changes to a list of unsafe carriers.
The 27-nation EU said the ban on all airlines certified in the western African country of Benin is justified by the “negative results” of an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The other newly barred carriers are Kazakhstan’s Air Company Kokshetau, ATMA Airlines, Berkut Air, East Wing, Sayat Air and Starline KZ, Thailand’s One-Two-Go Airlines and Ukraine’s Motor Sich Airlines, according to the EU.
This is the tenth update of a blacklist first drawn up by the European Commission in March 2006 with more than 90 airlines mainly from Africa. The ban already covers carriers from nations including Angola, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Rwanda, Indonesia and North Korea.
“Air passengers are entitled to feel safe and be safe,” EU Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani said in a statement today in Brussels. All carriers must “conform to internationally required levels of air safety.”
Airline crashes in 2004 and 2005 that killed hundreds of European travelers prompted EU governments to seek a uniform approach to airline safety through a common blacklist. The list, updated at least four times a year, is based on deficiencies found during checks at European airports, the use of antiquated aircraft by companies and shortcomings by non-EU airline regulators.
In addition to imposing an operational ban in Europe, the blacklist can act as a guide for travelers worldwide and influence safety policies in non-EU countries. Nations that are home to carriers with poor safety records can ground them to avoid being put on the EU list, while countries keen to keep out unsafe foreign airlines can use the European list as a guide for their own bans.
With the latest changes, Benin becomes the ninth country where all the local airlines face the EU ban. The other eight nations are Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Swaziland.