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EU Removes Iran’s Aseman Airlines from Safety List | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Iranian Aseman Airlines’ Fokker 100 prepares to take off as a British Airways aeroplane is seen in the foreground at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport August 6, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

The European Union has banned Iran’s Aseman Airlines from operating within the EU due to safety concerns, according to a statement issued Thursday.

This decision was taken after the European Commission updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.

The ban is a blow to Tehran which is purchasing new jets to renew the country’s ageing fleet following the lifting of long-term sanctions.

Aseman Airlines was added to the EU’s air safety list of airlines which do not meet international safety standards, the European Commission said in a statement.

The regional carrier is Iran’s third largest by active fleet size. Owned by Iran’s civil service pension fund, it is managed as a private company, according to an Iranian aviation expert.

Aseman Airlines was reported in August to be buying 20 regional jets from Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for use on domestic routes.

The lifting of economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities has allowed Iran to strike provisional deals worth around $50 billion with Boeing and Airbus to buy some 200 airliners to renew its ageing fleet.

The Commission also cleared all Kazakh airlines from the list, meaning they are no longer subject to restrictions on operating in Europe, because of improvements to aviation safety.

“The EU Air Safety list is one of our main instruments to continuously offer the highest level of air safety to Europeans. I am particularly glad that after years of work and European technical assistance, we are today able to clear all Kazakh air carriers. This also is a positive signal for all the countries that remain on the list. It shows that work and cooperation pay off. The Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency are ready to assist,” EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc said.

Besides Aseman Airlines, a total of 193 airlines were banned from EU skies following the update including: 190 airlines certified in 18 states due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states, three individual airlines, based on safety concerns (Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq) and Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname)). An additional six airlines were put under operational restrictions and allowed to only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).