EU relaxes ban on Angolan airlines

November 21, 2011 - 1:05 PM

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union relaxed its ban on Angola's TAAG Airlines flying in European airspace, imposed a partial ban on Jordan Aviation and noted significant aviation safety improvements in Albania and Russia.

The EU's latest blacklist on Monday banned three of Jordan Aviation's Boeing 767s from flying to Europe. The charter company often works for the United Nations to transport its peacekeepers.

Siim Kallas, the EU commissioner responsible for transport, said the bloc could not accept any compromises when it comes to air safety.

"Where we have evidence ... that air carriers are not performing safe operations, we must act to exclude any risks to safety," he said.

The EU list of 281 airlines from 24 countries — mostly smaller carriers from Africa and Asia — banned from flying in European airspace was established in 2006 and is updated regularly.

But critics say most of the notorious African cargo outfits still on the list have been shut down. Many others on it involve air taxi services or small, specialized charter firms that work for mining, oil and gas and other natural resources companies, usually to transport employees to remote work sites.

The update for TAAG means that it can fly into Europe using its two modern Boeing 777-300 airliners "which the air carrier has shown that it is capable to manage safely," the EU statement said.

Meanwhile, the commission said Russia and Albania had made significant progress in improving flight safety and that no punitive measures would be taken against any of their airlines.

The EU banned all operations to Europe by aircraft belonging to Rollins Air, a charter and leasing company registered in Honduras.

The list also includes 11 air carriers that are allowed to operate in Europe subject to strict conditions and restrictions on which planes they can use. These include North Korea's Air Koryo and Iran's national flag carrier Air Iran.

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