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Thu, Nov 17, 2005

European Ban On Unsafe Airlines Goes To Vote Dec. 5

EU Backs The Blacklist

The European Union parliament voted Wednesday to create a standardized set of guidelines to create a "blacklist" of airlines which fail to meet international standards. Airlines noted on the list -- primarily flying from what the EU refers to as "third countries" -- would be banned from flying anywhere within the EU.

As was reported in Aero-News, the list was first suggested earlier this year following a string of fatal accidents involving airliners from countries outside the EU -- many of which have since been shown to have safety issues. The proposed guidelines would be standardized throughout the union, and if approved (as is expected) would apply to all Member States.

Several EU countries, such as Britain and France, presently have their own blacklists in place. Under the current system, however, an airline banned in one EU member state can still operate in another.

With the new regulations, "passengers will enjoy the same protection, no matter which European airport they use," said conservative deputy Christine de Veyrac to the Associated Press. "Europe is on its way to intensifying air security."

The list, to be brought before Member States on Dec. 5, will be published on the Internet and made available to customers by ticket vendors. Tour vendors will be required to inform passengers on the identity of the carrier they're booked on, and passengers would have a right to be compensated if they had previously booked travel on a now-blacklisted airline.

The assembly's vote comes one day after the EC proposed giving the European Aviation Safety Administration more powers to impose rules on all airlines operating within the borders of Member States -- European and non-European -- serving the EU.

Under the new plan, the EASA would have many powers similar to that of its US counterpart, the FAA -- including the authority to oversee safety checks of aircraft flying for non-European airlines serving the EU.

FMI: www.eu.int, www.easa.eu.int

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