Thai Airlines Spared European Ban - for Now

Photo by Dimarucot

by Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, December 15, 2015

EU regulator has included Iraqi Airways on its list of banned carriers - but Thailand's airlines have been handed a reprieve.

Thailand’s airlines have been spared a ban from European skies despite concerns over flight safety in the country.

Last month the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates US air safety, downgraded all Thai airlines to “category 2” . While no Thai airlines currently fly to or from the States, the move prevents them from establishing new routes.

In March Thai airlines were placed under “special measures” by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), prompting Japan and South Korea to block new flights from Thai airlines.

But the EU’s air safety regulator, while announcing an update to its list of banned airlines, declined to impose its own restrictions, saying instead that it would continue to closely monitor aviation standards in the country.

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“No carriers from Thailand were added to the Air Safety List at this time,” said the European Commission in a statement on Thursday . “The Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are willing to continue to work with the Thai authorities to enhance aviation safety in the country.

"There was one new addition to the banned list – Iraqi Airways, which previously offered flights from Gatwick and Manchester."

“The Commission and EASA will however closely monitor future developments and, if the protection of air passengers against safety risks so requires, the Commission could then propose to include one or more air carriers from Thailand in the Air Safety List.”

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There was one new addition to the list – Iraqi Airways, which previously offered flights from Gatwick and Manchester, as well as airports in Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal. It cites “unaddressed safety concerns” behind its inclusion.

Kazakh-based Air Astana has been removed from the list, which includes a total of 228 carriers in 20 states (see below) - all of which are banned from EU airspace.

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"Offering the highest level of air safety to European citizens is a priority of the Commission,” said Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport. “On Monday we updated the EU's safety rules as part of the Aviation Strategy and today we are updating the EU's Air Safety List. I am satisfied that we were able to clear Air Astana after six years of work. In the interest of European citizens, we are however forced to maintain other Kazakh carriers on the list and to add Iraqi Airways."

Which airlines are banned from the EU?

All airlines from the following countries

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Angola (with the exception of TAAG Angola, which operates under restrictions and conditions)
  3. Benin
  4. Republic of the Congo
  5. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  6. Djibouti
  7. Equatorial Guinea
  8. Eritrea
  9. Gabon (with the exception of Afrijet and SN2AG, which operate under restrictions and conditions)
  10. Indonesia (with the exception of Garuda Indonesia, Ekspres Transportasi Antarbenua and Indonesia Air Asia)
  11. Kazakhstan (with the exception of Air Astana, cleared today)
  12. The Kyrgyz Republic
  13. Liberia
  14. Libya
  15. Mozambique
  16. Nepal
  17. São Tomé and Príncipe
  18. Sierra Leone
  19. Sudan
  20. Zambia

As well as the following individual airlines

  1. Blue Wing Airlines, Suriname
  2. Iraqi Airways

Which airlines have operational restrictions?

  1. TAAG Angola Airlines
  2. Air Service Comores
  3. Afrijet, Gabon
  4. Nouvelle Air Affaires, Gabon
  5. Gabon SN2AG
  6. Iran Air
  7. Air Koryo, North Korea
  8. Air Madagascar

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This article was written by Oliver Smith from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.