BRUSSELS (AP) – Yemen’s national airline escaped being placed on an EU blacklist, despite calls for the carrier to be banned from flying to Europe following a June crash of a flight between Paris and the Comoros islands that killed 152 people, the EU said Friday.
A European Commission statement said the European Aviation Safety Agency had carried out a number of audits to check on the implementation of safety measures at the airline.
Yemenia Flight 626 from Paris to Moroni, the capital of Comoros, plunged into the ocean June 30, killing 152 people. Only a teenage girl survived, plucked from the water after 13 hours. Many crash victims had been from France’s Comoran community.
But the EU’s updated airline blacklist, which is revised annually, now bans all airlines registered in the African nations of Sao Tome and Principe, Djibouti and the Republic of Congo due to safety deficiencies identified by the aviation authorities of these nations.
In backing its decision, the EU cited evidence that airlines registered in Sao Tome and Principe suffered an unusually high level of accidents, and also that the nation was becoming a haven for dangerous airlines attempting to circumvent bans on their home countries.
The ban on the Republic of Congo came after International Civil Aviation Organization raised safety concerns following the crash of a cargo aircraft in August, which killed all six occupants.
The blacklist contains dozens of other carriers deemed not to meet international safety standards. But critics have noted that most of the notorious African fly-by-night cargo, charter and air taxi outfits still on the EU list have long since been shut down.
“This update also highlights the continuous dialogue with certain states regarding the safety of their carriers,” the EU statement said.
It said progress on improved cooperation was noted with Albania, Angola, Egypt, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The EU also said that Angola’s flag carrier TAAG will be permitted to increase the number of its flights to Portugal, despite it remaining on the EU blacklist. It said the Angolan aviation authority and the carrier have made progress in improving safety.