Airline Safety Bans Controversial

Venezuela officials agreed to postpone until April 25th a plan to limit U.S. airline operations in that country. Officials had threatened to ban all flights by Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines and to restrict flights by American Airlines unless U.S. aviation authorities reviewed progress the South American airlines claim they have made since the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lowered their status to Category 2.

U.S. officials were visiting Venezuela’s two airlines to review operating domestic and international services and to inspect operational and security measures in a step that Venezuela’s Instituto Nacional de Aeronautica Civil hoped would return the airlines to Category 1 status and allow them direct access to the U.S. Since the airlines’ status was lowered to Category 2, they have continued to serve the U.S. using aircraft rented from U.S. companies or from airlines operating in Category 1 countries.

Elsewhere, the European Union (EU) released published a list of 92 carriers banned from European airspace for failure to meet international safety standards. Most of the airlines are based in Africa. The list includes 50 carriers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 14 from Sierra Leone and seven from Swaziland. Other airlines on the list are from Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and North Korea. Thailand’s Air Phuket is reported as contesting its inclusion on the list.

Airlines on the list are banned from flying across the 25-nation EU bloc, Norway or Switzerland.

The EU authority maintains the list and will issue updates every three months.

France and Belgium already maintain similar lists containing 15 airlines.

The EU list is available at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/air/safety/doc/flywell/2006_03_22_flywell_list_en.pdf

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