Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

Brussels, 11 April 2022

The Commission has updated the EU Air Safety List, which is the list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union, because they do not meet international safety standards. Following the update, 21 airlines certified in Russia are now included on the EU Air Safety List. This reflects serious safety concerns due to Russia’s forced re-registration of foreign-owned aircraft, knowingly allowing their operation without valid certificates of airworthiness. This is in breach of international aviation safety standards.

Commissioner for Transport AdinaVăleansaid:

“The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency has allowed Russian airlines to operate hundreds of foreign-owned aircraft without a valid Certificate of Airworthiness. The Russian airlines concerned have knowingly done so in breach of relevant international safety standards. This is not only a clear breach of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), but it also poses an immediate safety threat.We are living in the context of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. However, I want to make it crystal-clear that this decision is not another sanction against Russia; it has been taken solely on the basis of technical and safety grounds. We do not mix safety with politics.”

Following the update, a total of 117 airlines are banned from EU skies:

  • 90 airlines certified in 15 different States[1], due to inadequate safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these States;
  • 21 airlines certified in Russia, as well as 6 individual airlines from other States, based on serious safety deficiencies identified: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).

Two additional airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Iran Air (Iran) and Air Koryo (North Korea).

Background

The update to the EU Air Safety List is based on the unanimous opinion of Member State aviation safety experts, who met on 5 April 2022 under the auspices of the EU Air Safety Committee, via videoconference. This committee is chaired by the Commission with the support from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. The update has the support of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee. Decisions under the EU Air Safety List are based on international safety standards, and notably those of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

For More Information

Questions & answers on the EU Air Safety List

List of airlines banned within the EU 

[1]Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of 2 airlines), Armenia, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

 


Questions and Answers: Commission adopts new EU Air Safety List

 

What is the EU Air Safety List?

The EU Air Safety List (ASL) is a list of air carriers that do not fulfil international safety standards. The carriers on the ASL are banned from operating to, in and from the EU (including overflight). Carriers that do not operate to the EU can also be put on the ASL, in order to warn those travelling outside of the EU about safety concerns. If the safety authorities of a third country are not able to fulfil their international safety oversight obligations, all the carriers of that country can be put on the ASL.

The ASL, while not popular with the affected countries and carriers, has developed into a strong and internationally recognised tool that helps improve the safety of international aviation. This is the case both for flights to the EU, but also for aviation outside of the EU. The ASL is also seen as a strong preventive tool, because when under scrutiny, countries tend to improve their safety oversight to avoid seeing their air carriers on the list.

Which carriers are currently on the EU Air Safety List?

After the 39thupdate of the Air Safety List in April 2022, 117 air carriers are banned from EU skies:

  • 90 airlines certified in 15 different States[1], due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities in these States;
  • 21 airlines certified in Russia, as well as 6 individual airlines from other States, based on safety concerns identified: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).

Two additional airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Iran Air (Iran) and Air Koryo (North Korea).

Who is responsible for the updates to the EU Air Safety List?

In updating the list, the Commission is assisted by the EU Air Safety Committee (ASC), which comprises aviation safety experts from all the EU Member States and is chaired by the Commission, with support from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Acting on a proposal by the Commission, the ASC delivers its opinion by qualified majority. The proposed measures are then submitted to the European Parliament and the Council before final adoption by the Commission, and publication in the Official Journal. To date, all decisions taken by the Commission to impose or to lift restrictions have been reached with unanimous support from the ASC members and the European Parliament’s Transport Committee.

What is the procedure for updates to the EU Air Safety List?

All EU Member States and EASA are obliged to communicate information that may be relevant for the update of the ASL to the Commission. The Commission and the ASC use a variety of information sources when assessing whether or not international safety standards are respected. These include sources such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United States Federal Aviation Administration, EASA, SAFA[2]and TCO[3]reports, as well as information gathered by individual EU Member States and the Commission itself. It is important to note that this assessment is made on the basis of international safety standards (and not EU safety standards, which are sometimes more stringent), and notably the standards promulgated by ICAO.

To whom does it apply?

The rules establishing the list of banned carriers apply to all air carriers, irrespective of their nationality – EU and non-EU. They apply only to commercial air transport, i.e. to the air transport of passengers and cargo for remuneration or hire. The rules do not apply to private and non-commercial flights (e.g. positioning flights for maintenance purposes).

How often is the list updated and what is the timeframe for this? Is there not a risk that it will quickly become obsolete?

The ASL may be updated whenever the Commission deems it is necessary, or upon request of an EU Member State. The ASC normally meets two or three times every year, as necessary. For emergencies, a specific procedure is in place.

How can an airline be cleared and taken off the list?

If an airline considers that it should be taken off the list because it complies with the relevant safety standards, a request can be sent to the Commission, either directly or through its civil aviation authority. For a ban to be lifted, sufficient evidence must be provided to the EU, to prove that the capacity of the airline and of its oversight authority to implement international safety standards is sufficient. The Commission services will then assess the evidence presented by the airline and/or its oversight authority. If the result of the assessment is positive, the Commission will make a proposal to the ASC.

Notwithstanding the case of individual air carriers, if the underlying reason for an air carrier being on the ASL is a poor level of compliance with ICAO standards by its safety oversight authorities, it will require the State to address this before that air carrier can be removed from the list.

In practical terms, this involves the air carrier and its State providing written information, attending meetings with the Commission and EU Member States, sometimes being subject to an on-site visit led by the Commission, and taking part in hearings in front of the ASC.

How is an airline added to the list?

If the Commission or an EU Member State acquires and confirms evidence indicating serious safety deficiencies on the part of an airline or its oversight authority anywhere in the world, the list will be updated to include this airline or all the airlines of the country in question.

Does the inclusion of an airline in the EU Air Safety List always mean that it is no longer allowed to fly in Europe?

This is correct. As long as the air carrier is subject to a total ban, neither its aircraft nor its personnel can operate in the European Union’s airspace. The airline is included in Annex A of the regulation. Equally, as long as an air carrier is subject to a partial ban, it can operate only with the aircraft stipulated in the Regulation. The airline is included in Annex B of the regulation.

Banned airlines can, however, use the aircraft and personnel of other airlines, which are not on the ASL, on the basis of contracts called ‘wet-lease agreements’. In this way, passengers and cargo can still be transported when in possession of tickets sold by a banned airline, and if the flight is operated by airlines that fully comply with the safety rules. Furthermore, aircraft used for government or state purposes (e.g. transport of the heads of state and/or government, humanitarian flights), do not fall under the safety requirements of ICAO. Such aircraft are considered to be operating ‘state flights’ and can fly into the EU even if commercial flights are banned. However, such flights do need special authorisation (‘diplomatic clearance’) from all the EU Member States that the state aircraft overflies, as well as from the state of destination.

In essence, banned airlines cannot enter the sovereign airspace of any EU Member State, nor fly over their territory while they are banned (totally or partially).

Does the list prevent EU Member States from taking individual safety measures at a national level?

No. The general principle is that whatever measure is considered at national level must also be examined at European Union level. When an air carrier is considered unsafe and therefore banned in one EU Member State, there is an obligation to examine this measure at EU level with a view to applying it throughout the European Union. Nevertheless, even where a ban is not extended to the EU, there is scope for EU Member States to continue to act at national level in certain exceptional cases, particularly in emergencies or in response to a safety issue specifically affecting them.

What are airlines’ ‘rights of defence’?

Airlines that have been banned, or that are being investigated in view of a potential ban, have the right to express their points of view, submit any documents that they consider appropriate for their defence, and make oral and written presentations to the ASC and the Commission. This means that they can submit comments in writing, add new items to their file, and ask to be heard by the Commission or to attend a hearing before the ASC, which then formulates its opinion based on these proceedings and the materials submitted prior to or during the hearing.

Is the Commission approach a punitive one?

The Commission’s sole aim is to improve aviation safety, which is in everyone’s interest, and in no way to affect a country’s economic or social development. Countries affected can put in place technical assistance measures to help airlines achieve a satisfactory level of aviation safety. While in the past the focus has been to put countries and carriers on the ASL, the Commission is now also working with affected states to help them improve their safety situation with a view to removing them from the ASL once the necessary safety levels have been reached.

How is the public informed about the EU Air Safety List?

The latest version of the list is available to the publiconline. The Commission also liaises closely with European and international travel agent associations each time that any changes are made to the list so that they are in the best possible position to assist their clients – the passengers – in making informed decisions on travel arrangements. Moreover, the ASL Regulation also obliges national civil aviation authorities, EASA and airports in the territory of the EU Member States to bring the ASL to the attention of passengers, both via their websites and, where relevant, on their premises.

In what way does the EU Air Safety List provide rights to European travellers?

The ASL Regulation establishes the right of any passenger to know the identity of every airline they fly with throughout their trip. To this effect, the contracting carrier is required to inform passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier or carriers when making a reservation, however the booking is made. The passenger must also be kept informed of any change of operating carrier, either at check-in or, at the latest, when boarding. The Regulation also gives passengers the right to reimbursement or re-routing if a carrier with which a booking has been made is subsequently added to the ASL, resulting in the cancellation of the flight concerned.

In what way does the publication of the EU Air Safety List help European citizens travelling beyond EU territory?

The ASL does not only ban unsafe airlines from operating to, from and within the EU. The list also provides useful information to people wishing to travel outside the European Union, so that they may avoid flying with these airlines if they wish. The list also safeguards the rights of consumers who have bought a trip at a travel agent that includes a flight operated by an airline on the ASL.

Is the addition of Russian airlines to the list an additional sanction on Russia?

No, this is not the case. The operational restrictions imposed in the framework of the EU Air Safety List are based solely on safety considerations. Russian airlines have been added because the FATA has violated several international safety standards in authorising continued flights by certain Russian carriers without a valid Certificate of Airworthiness, and without being able to demonstrate the capacity to discharge its responsibilities under the Chicago Convention and the related standards and recommended practices. Furthermore, the airlines concerned have knowingly engaged in commercial air transport, in breach of relevant international safety standards. All EU Air Safety List decisions are based on facts and on safety considerations only. We do not mix safety with politics. The situation will continue to be closely monitored in the coming weeks and months, and if necessary, further action may be taken.

[1]Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of 2 airlines), Armenia, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

List of airlines banned within the EU :

air-safety-list-2022-04-11_en

 

 

GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner