EU bans Sudan airlines, clears TAAG Angola


The European Union eased its ban on airlines from Angola yesterday but vowed to block carriers from Sudan and the Philippines from starting flights to the 27-country bloc.

The executive European Commission, which manages the blacklist, said TAAG Angola Airlines had improved and could bring specific aircraft into the whole EU under strict conditions.

But other Angolan airlines remain banned until the national authorities beef up their oversight.
“We cannot accept that airlines fly into the EU if they do not fully comply with international safety standards,” European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said in a statement.

The Commission said it had imposed an operating ban on all Sudanese carriers because that country’s national authority continually failed to meet international safety standards. The EU executive said it was closely monitoring airlines from Egypt.

In many airports in Sudan, travellers are greeted by the sight of a crashed plane lying beside the runway. Sudan blames US sanctions, imposed in 1997, for difficulties in obtaining spare parts.

The Commission acknowledged efforts made by Philippine authorities and airlines to improve standards, but said it would ban them from the EU as a precaution.

The European ban on Philippine carriers followed a downgrading by the US Federal Aviation Authority to category 2 from category 1 on safety ratings last November.
“Even if the Philippines is listed by the EU, it does not mean that Philippine aircraft are unsafe,” Alfonso Cusi, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said in a statement.
“Our aircraft meet the international standards in safety. It’s a matter of adopting the internationally accepted audit procedures.”

North Korea’s Air Koryo, banned since 2006, is allowed to resume flights with its two safest aircraft.

Iran Air faces restrictions after European experts found evidence of “serious incidents and accidents suffered by the carrier”.

Pic: TAAG Angola Airplane