The number of airlines fully banned from European Union skies has plummeted to 120 from 181 in December 2017. This appears from the updated blacklist (officially: EU Air Safety List) of banned airlines that the European Commission publishes every half year. All of them are based in African and Asian countries with 4 exceptions: Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname) and Avior Airlines (Venezuela).
For 114 carriers the EU ban is a consequence of the lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from the countries that certified the airlines, whereas for 6 airlines the ban is based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves.
An additional 6 airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (North Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).
Since November 2016, any non-European aircraft that enters the EU needs to have a single safety authorization valid throughout Europe called Third Country Operator (TCO) authorization.
The new system will alarm the air traffic controllers of all member states if an aircraft without such an authorization is trying to fly to the EU. The aircraft will then be denied access to the airspace of that member state.
The EU blacklist not only helps to maintain high levels of safety in the EU, but also affected countries to improve their levels of safety, in order for them to eventually be taken off the list. In addition, the blacklist has become a major preventive tool, as it motivates countries with safety problems to act upon them before a ban under the black list would become necessary.
The blacklist safeguards your rights if you have bought a ticket that includes flights operated by an airline on this list. Travel agents and airlines must inform passengers of the operating carrier.
You have the right to reimbursement or rerouting if an airline, with which you have made a booking, is subsequently added to the blacklist, resulting in cancelation of your flight.
Tags: EU blacklist, operational restrictions, Third Country Operator (TCO) authorization, passenger rights