The European Union has barred 92 airlines, most of them based in Africa, from landing at European airports due to failures in meeting international safety standards.The blacklist includes both cargo and passenger carriers from Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Liberia.
These airlines have been judged to have an “inadequate system for regulatory oversight” or insufficient safety standards.
EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said the EU was barring 50 carriers from Congo alone, 14 from Sierra Leone and seven from Swaziland.
Also on the blacklist includes Ariana Afghan Airlines, North Korea’s Air Koryo and Thailand’s Phuket Airlines. Two airlines from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan were listed as well.
Barrot said some planes used for flights to Europe and possibly from elsewhere were “flying coffins,” adding that safety controls in the listed nations were too weak.
He also told the Associated Press that the high number of listed Congolese airlines was partly due to years of civil war, after which old military planes were converted for civilian and cargo use.
“There was a very difficult period in that country where there were military clashes. And a number of planes used for military operations were then just converted into charter planes, hence the high number of airlines,” Barrot said.
“In Africa they tend to use planes manufactured in the former Soviet Union. They were basically patched up and they are under suspicion” for their poor safety record.”