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Thu, Jun 28, 2007

European Commission Adds All Indonesian Airlines To Blacklist

List Also Includes Angolan, Ukrainian Airlines; Goes Into Effect July 6

Authorities in Brussels said Thursday the European Commission has updated its blacklist of unsafe airlines. It issued an operating ban to include all 51 Indonesian airlines as well as Angolan flight carrier TAAG Angola Airlines and Ukrainian cargo airline Volare Aviation Enterprise.

Indonesian airlines have had a series of serious accidents this year. The Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the country's rating in April. The FAA and the International Civil Aviation Organization both have warned the country's civil aviation procedures did not meet international standards, according to the Associated Press.

Also factoring into the ban decision was the fact that Indonesian authorities hadn't answered repeated questions posed by the EU up until the actual Commission meeting on Wednesday. Even then, many questions remained unanswered as the Indonesian officials present could not provide answers to such questions as the number of aircraft Indonesian carriers had, an EU official said, according to AFX News Limited.

"Once more, the EU blacklist will prove to be an essential tool not only to prevent unsafe airlines from flying to Europe and to inform passengers traveling worldwide but also to make sure that airlines and civil aviation authorities take appropriate actions to improve safety," said Jacques Barrot, commission vice president in charge of transport.

The director of air transport safety at Indonesia's transport ministry, Iing Iskandar, told Agence France-Presse that there had been no official word received from the EU and would not comment.

"We are committed to improving safety and security in our planes. We have made action plans and regularly survey our carriers," he said.

According to the AP, Budhi Suyitno Mulyawan, a top official at Indonesia's Transport Ministry, said the Commission had yet to review the country's latest data on its airline's safety.

"We were late in delivering the latest data to European Commission, but we will bring the latest findings - which show Indonesia's airlines are getting better now -- to the meeting of the EC in October," he said.

The Commission also announced it had eased restrictions previously imposed on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) operations within the EU, according to Earth Times.

In March, PIA was banned from flying in the EU unless it used only 777 jets that were maintained outside of the country. The Commission noted enough improvement in the carrier's standards, it will now allow specific 747s and A310s to be operated by the carrier within EU airspace.

This move will increase the number of aircraft PIA is allowed to fly to Europe from seven to 19 of its fleet of 43 airplanes. Prior to these new additions, the EU had 91 airlines on its blacklist, 74 from Africa alone.

The updated blacklist goes into effect July 6.

As ANN reported, a TAAG Boeing 737-700 crashed on landing in the northern region of that country Thursday. At least six people were killed, with several other injuries reported.

FMI: www.europa.eu, www.faa.gov, www.icao.int, www.piac.com.pk

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