Four Indonesian airlines allowed back into Europe; Zambia, Kazakhstan banned

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Garuda are allowed back into Europe

The European Union (EU) has allowed four Indonesian airlines back into their airspace. A blanket ban had been placed on Indonesian air carriers in 2007. The EU has now added every Zambian airline and all but one from Kazakhstan to their blacklist.

Cquote1.svg We cannot afford any compromise in air safety Cquote2.svg

—European Commissioner for Transport Antonio Tajani

The four airlines allowed to fly into Europe are state-owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, privately owned scheduled carrier Mandala Airlines and two private chartered airlines dealing mainly with western clients, Airfast Indonesia and Premiair.

The decision to place the nation's fleet on the list of air carriers banned in the European Union followed a string of accidents, as well as a safety audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The accidents included the Adam Air Flight 574 disaster, where an airliner vanished from radar and crashed, Adam Air Flight 172, a nonfatal accident in which a plane cracked in half after landing and Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, a runway overrun that killed 21.

The ICAO had issued 600 safety recommendations to Indonesia. According to foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda, there are 69 requirements issued to the airlines by the EU, of which 62 have been met. Indonesia has also made improvements to its safety infrastructure, introducing better inspections. Earlier this year, five airlines had their operating certificates revoked for failing inspections.

Banned: Zambian Airways are no longer allowed into Europe

The EU said the decision was made as a result of "significant improvements and accomplishments of the Indonesian civil aviation authority" which "are recognised in the area of safety." Garuda plans to launch services to Europe next year.

The EU list now also contains all Zambian airlines and every airline from Kazakhstan except Air Astana. Astana has had restrictions put upon its flights to Europe.

European Commissioner for Transport Antonio Tajani used these additions as an opportunity to repeat a call for the list to be made global, which he had first suggested after the crash of Yeminia Flight 626 earlier this month.

"We cannot afford any compromise in air safety," he said. "Citizens have the right to fly safely anywhere in the world. It is high time that the international community rethinks safety policy. Those airlines which are unsafe should not be allowed to fly anywhere."

The only other modification to the list was to Angolan flag carrier TAAG. Previously banned completely, they will now be allowed to fly some of their aircraft into Portugal, with operating restrictions. The move comes after the Portuguese and Angolan civil aviation bodies signed a deal to co-operate to improve safety.


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