Why is Yemenia Airlines not on the EU Banned List?

Monday, November 30, 2009
By George Hatcher

A number of audit visits have also been requested by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to evaluate the safety situation of authorities and companies in Albania, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan and Yemen.

Why only an audit? How many second chances did the 153 passengers on Yemenia Airlines flight have? I ask why Yemenia Airlines is not on the banned list, after the terrible crash in the Comoros? The EU is displaying a terrible, unforgivable unconcern for human life.

Inspections in Germany and Italy had shown up “deficiencies” with the airline, and in July last year the EU commission had insisted Yemenia provide an “action plan” to address safety concerns. A year before that, “SOS voyage aux Comores” (SOS Travel to Comoros) began protesting shoddy aviation service, and called on French authorities to act. According to SOS spokesman Farid Soilihi, “Flights between Sanaa and Moroni are carried out by cowboy operators. The accident was predictable, these are planes that do not meet international standards. Yemenia was the cheapest of all the ‘rubbish companies’ with a near-monopoly on this destination”

Yemenia Airlines is presently owned by the Government of Yemen (51%) and the government of Saudi Arabia (49%).


The ban list announcement is here:

The European Commission published today (27/11/2009) the twelfth update of the Community’s list of airlines banned in the European Union which comprises those of three additional countries following safety deficiencies highlighted by audits. With this update the ban imposed upon three airlines is lifted and one airline is allowed to resume operations under conditions given satisfactory improvements in safety.

“We cannot afford any compromises in air safety. Citizens have the right to fly safely in Europe and anywhere else in the world”, said Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani. “Our aim is not just to create a list of airlines that are dangerous. We are ready to help those countries to build up their technical and administrative capacity to guarantee the safety of civil aviation in their countries. We will step up our cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organisation to ensure that our efforts are better coordinated to grant assistance where it is most needed. We cannot, however, accept that airlines fly while not complying with international safety standards. This endangers all of us who unknowingly could be on an unsafe plane. This is why the list is necessary”.

The new list replaces the previous one and can already be consulted on the Commission’s website .

The rationale of the rules governing the list of banned airlines is two-fold:

a) The list serves as a preventive instrument for safeguarding aviation safety. This is illustrated by the numerous instances where the Community has successfully addressed potential safety threats well ahead of resorting to the ultimate measure of imposing restrictions.

b) The list also acts as a last resort when serious safety problems persist by imposing restrictions or banning access to European airspace; . Such measures give a strong incentive to remedy safety deficiencies;

With this update three carriers licensed in Ukraine have been removed from the list: Ukraine Cargo Airways and Volare have both lost their Air Operator Certificates; following the receipt of certain information from the Ukrainian authorities, the carrier Motor Sich is also removed from the list. A fourth carrier, Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines is allowed to resume operations with one aircraft. This is the result of a successful visit lead by the European Aviation Safety Agency with the participation of two Member States in Ukraine to verify improvements achieved by the companies.

In the same vein, the significant progress made by the civil aviation authority of Angola and the air carrier TAAG Angola Airlines to resolve progressively any safety deficiencies are recognised. TAAG is therefore allowed to increase the number of aircraft it uses for its flights to Portugal.

This update also highlights the continuous dialogue with certain States regarding the safety of their carriers. Strengthened cooperation and progress was noted with Albania, Angola, Egypt, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. A number of audit visits have also been requested by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to evaluate the safety situation of authorities and companies in Albania, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan and Yemen.

At the same time, the list was extended to include all air carriers certified in Djibouti, Republic of Congo and Sao Tome and Principe because of safety deficiencies identified in the system of oversight by the aviation authorities of these countries.

All carriers covered by this and previous updates continue to be subject to prioritised ramp inspections at Community airports in order to ensure their consistent adherence to the international safety standards.

Today, the Community’s list has five individual carriers whose operations are fully banned in the European Union – Air Koryo from the Democratic People Republic of Korea, Air West from Sudan, Ariana Afghan Airlines from Afghanistan, Siem Reap Airways International from Cambodia and Silverback Cargo Freighters from Rwanda. All carriers from 15 countries – 228 companies in total – are banned: Angola (with the exception of one carrier which operates under restrictions and conditions), Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, (with the exception of three carriers which operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia, Kazakhstan (with the exception of one carrier which operates under restrictions and conditions), the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland and Zambia. There are eight air carriers allowed to operate under restrictions and conditions – TAAG Angola Airlines, Air Astana from Kazakhstan, Gabon Airlines, Afrijet and SN2AG from Gabon, Air Bangladesh, Air Service Comores and Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines from Ukraine.

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