Aviation body chief rejects EU airline blacklist plan

BRUSSELS: The head of the organisation that overseas world air transport rejected Thursday a European Commission proposal to establish a world-wide blacklist of unsafe airlines

"I don't think this is the solution at the global level," the head of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Robert Kobeh Gonzalez, said after talks in Brussels with EU Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani.

"Lists that may discourage passengers to use a particular aircraft of a specific airline on certain routes will not necessarily reduce accidents," he said.

His personal view was that a range of measures had to be taken, he added.

On June 30, Tajani called for a worldwide blacklist after a Yemeni airliner crashed off the coast of the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros, killing all but one of the 153 people aboard.

The EU had been on the verge of putting Yemenia on its own blacklist a year ago but did not do so as the company, according to Tajani's spokesman, had been addressing safety concerns.

The EU's blacklist, which is regularly updated, contains the names of more than 200 airlines or firms of concern which are either banned from operating in Europe or only allowed under strict restrictions.

Most of those targetted operate out of Africa, mainly in Angola, Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Swaziland.

Some do not fly to Europe but their inclusion is bad for business.