France publishes airline blacklist

29th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 29 (AFP) - Acting in response to a series of civil aviation disasters, France Monday published a list of five airlines banned in its airspace for safety reasons.

PARIS, Aug 29 (AFP) - Acting in response to a series of civil aviation disasters, France Monday published a list of five airlines banned in its airspace for safety reasons.

The action has the full support of the European Commission, which is trying to implement an EU-wide list of suspect airlines that pools safety information from all 25 member states.

France's civil aviation authority (DGAC) said on its website that the banned airlines were Air Koryo from North Korea, Air Saint-Thomas from the United States, International Air Service from Liberia, and Air Mozambique (LAM) and an affiliated carrier Transairways.

The list also included Phuket Airways of Thailand, which had not already been named by the transport ministry.

The dates of the banning orders were given as April 2001 for Air Koryo, March 19, 2004 for Air Saint-Thomas, April 1, 2004 for International Air Service, December 3, 2004 for LAM and June 4, 2005 for Phuket Airlines.

The announcement of the measures followed a string of fatal accidents this month, and notably a crash that killed 160 people on August 16 in Venezuela, 152 of them French tourists from the Caribbean island of Martinique.

Fatal crashes have also occurred this month near Athens and off the coast of Sicily. An Air France jet slid off the runway at Toronto's international airport, but all aboard managed to escape alive.

The initiative brings France into line with Britain, Switzerland and the United States, where authorities have either identified banned airlines or named countries where civil aviation regulations are deemed to be inadequate.

EU transport commissioner Jacques Barrot welcomed news of the French policy change when it was first announced last week, saying: "This is a good step towards the consolidated European list that the (European) Commission proposed on February 16 of this year."

French Transport Minister Dominique Perben also promised that safety checks would be stepped up on aircraft making stopovers in French airports and on airlines applying for French landing rights.

Implementation of the EU list has been held up by differences among member states over the criteria to use to identify airlines meriting the name-and-shame treatment.

Barrot said he hoped the EU list would enter into force at the end of the year at the earliest following approval by the European Parliament.

In the aftermath of the French announcement last week, the Belgium transport ministry also said it would publish a similar list on Monday.

"We don't want to wait for the future European blacklist," a spokeswoman for Belgian transport minister Renaat Landuyt said.

Momentum for increased transparency on airline safety grew in January 2004 after the crash of a flight operated by Flash Airlines.

A total of 134 French tourists were killed in the accident when the plane plunged into the Red Sea in Egypt; many of the passengers were unaware they were flying with Flash, which had been banned in Swiss airspace because of safety concerns.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, airline, airline safety, blacklist, crash, DGAC, Air Koryo, Air Saint-Thomas, International Air Service, Air Mozambique, Phuket Airlines, Air France, Dominique Perben, Jacques Barrot

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