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Monday, October 05, 2009

Which airlines can you trust?

Aviation has been struck by severe turbulence in 2009 - with the financial woes generated by the global recession compounded by sustained assaults on the environmental sustainability of the industry.
But - while the IATA has warned airlines could lose over £9 billion over the course of the year, and the UK's Committee on Climate Change suggesting air travel may have to be rationed in order to survive - it is safety which has generated the greatest concern for passengers.
Crashes over the Atlantic (Air France) and in New York (US Airways), have focused public attention on safety in the skies - prompting many to ask how safe it really is to fly?
Plane flying

European Commission 
But what many do not realise is the extraordinary amount of work which goes on behind the scenes to protect their safety.
A lot of this work is carried out in the sober corridors of the European Commission, which regularly audits airlines from around the world to ensure they meet the exacting criteria necessary to fly European citizens. Airlines which fail to make the grade will simply not be allowed to fly in European airspace.
"We cannot afford any compromises in air safety, we have to remain vigilant; citizens have the right to fly safely every where in the world," explains commission vice-president Antonio Tajani.
The first line of defence against potentially unsafe airlines is the Commission's blacklist - which details all airlines barred from European airspace. While largely composed of African and Asian airlines, there are also a number closer to home:
Name of the legal entity of the carrierState of the operator
Ariana Afghan Airlines (AFG)*Afghanistan
Air GeminiAngola
Air GicangoAngola
Air JetAngola
Air NaveAngola
Angola Air ServicesAngola
Gira GloboAngola
Rui & ConceicaoAngola
Aero BeninBenin
Africa AirwaysBenin
Alafia Jet (IGA)Benin
Benin Golf AirBenin
Benin Littoral Airways (BLA)Benin
Royal AirBenin
Trans Air (TNB)Benin
Siem Reap Airways International (SRH)Cambodia
Air Koryo (KOR)Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Africa One (CFR)Democratic Republic of Congo
African Air Services CommuterDemocratic Republic of Congo
Aigle AviationDemocratic Republic of Congo
Air BeniDemocratic Republic of Congo
Air BoyomaDemocratic Republic of Congo
Air InfiniDemocratic Republic of Congo
Air KasaiDemocratic Republic of Congo
Air KatangaDemocratic Republic of Congo
Air NavetteDemocratic Republic of Congo
Air TropiquesDemocratic Republic of Congo
Bel Glob AirlinesDemocratic Republic of Congo
Blue Airlines (BUL)Democratic Republic of Congo
Bravo Air CongoDemocratic Republic of Congo
Business AviationDemocratic Republic of Congo
Busy Bee CongoDemocratic Republic of Congo
Butembo AirlinesDemocratic Republic of Congo
Cargo Bull AviationDemocratic Republic of Congo
Cetraca Aviation Service (CER)Democratic Republic of Congo
CHC StellaviaDemocratic Republic of Congo
ComairDemocratic Republic of Congo
Compagnie Africaine D'aviationDemocratic Republic of Congo
Doren Air CongoDemocratic Republic of Congo
El Sam AirliftDemocratic Republic of Congo
Entreprise World AirwaysDemocratic Republic of Congo
Espace Aviation ServiceDemocratic Republic of Congo
FilairDemocratic Republic of Congo
Free AirlinesDemocratic Republic of Congo
Galaxy KavatsiDemocratic Republic of Congo
Gilembe Air SoutenanceDemocratic Republic of Congo
Goma ExpressDemocratic Republic of Congo
GomairDemocratic Republic of Congo
Great Lake Business CompanyDemocratic Republic of Congo
Hewa Bora Airways (ALX)Democratic Republic of Congo
International Trans Air BusinessDemocratic Republic of Congo
Katanga AirwaysDemocratic Republic of Congo
Kin AviaDemocratic Republic of Congo
Kivu AirDemocratic Republic of Congo
Lignes Aeriennes Congolaises (LCG)Democratic Republic of Congo
Malu AviationDemocratic Republic of Congo
Malila Airlift (MLC)Democratic Republic of Congo
Mango AviationDemocratic Republic of Congo
Piva AirlinesDemocratic Republic of Congo
Rwakabika Bushi ExpressDemocratic Republic of Congo
Safari Logistics SprlDemocratic Republic of Congo
Safe Air CompanyDemocratic Republic of Congo
Services AirDemocratic Republic of Congo
Sun Air ServicesDemocratic Republic of Congo
Swala AviationDemocratic Republic of Congo
Tembo Air ServicesDemocratic Republic of Congo
Thom's AirwaysDemocratic Republic of Congo
Tmk Air CommuterDemocratic Republic of Congo
Tracep Congo AviationDemocratic Republic of Congo
Trans Air Cargo ServicesDemocratic Republic of Congo
Transports Aeriens CongolaisDemocratic Republic of Congo
Virunga Air CharterDemocratic Republic of Congo
Wimbi Dira Airways (WDA)Democratic Republic of Congo
Zaabu InternationalDemocratic Republic of Congo
Cronos AirlinesEquatorial Guinea
Ceiba Intercontinental (CEL)Equatorial Guinea
Egams (EGM)Equatorial Guinea
Euroguineana De Aviacion Y Transportes (EUG)Equatorial Guinea
General Work AviacionEquatorial Guinea
Getra - Guinea Ecuatorial De Transportes Aereos (GET)Equatorial Guinea
Guinea AirwaysEquatorial Guinea
Star Equatorial AirlinesEquatorial Guinea
Utage – Union De Transport Aereo De GuineaEquatorial Guinea
Ecuatorial (UTG)Equatorial Guinea
Air ServicesGabon
Air Tourist (Allegiance) (NIL)Gabon
Nationale Et Regionale Transport (Nationale) (NRT)Gabon
Nouvelle Air Affaires Gabon (NVS)Gabon
Scd AviationGabon
Sky Gabon (SKG)Gabon
Solenta Aviation GabonGabon
Air Pacific UtamaIndonesia
Alfa Trans DirgantataIndonesia
Asco Nusa Air TransportIndonesia
Asi PudjiastutiIndonesia
Atlas Delta SatyaIndonesia
Aviastar MandiriIndonesia
Balai Kalibrasi Fasitas PenerbanganIndonesia
Cardig AirIndonesia
Dabi AirIndonesia
Deraya Air Taxi (DRY)Indonesia
Derazona Air ServiceIndonesia
Dirgantara Air Service (DIR)Indonesia
Ekspress Transportasi Antar BenuaIndonesia
Gatari Air Service (GHS)Indonesia
Indonesia AirAsia (AWQ)Indonesia
Indonesia Air Transport (IDA)Indonesia
Intan Angkasa Air ServiceIndonesia
Kal StarIndonesia
Kartika Airlines (KAE)Indonesia
Kura-Kura AviationIndonesia
Lion Air (LNI)Indonesia
Linus AirwaysIndonesia
Manunggal Air ServiceIndonesia
Megantara AirlinesIndonesia
Merpati Nusantara Airlines (MNA)Indonesia
Metro Batavia (BTV)Indonesia
Mimika AirIndonesia
National Utility HelicopterIndonesia
Nusantara Buana AirIndonesia
Nyaman AirIndonesia
Pelita Air Service (PAS)Indonesia
Penerbangan Angkasa SemestaIndonesia
Pura Wisata BarunaIndonesia
Republic Ekspress (RPH)Indonesia
Riau Airlines (RIU)Indonesia
Sampoerna Air NusantaraIndonesia
Sayap Garuda IndahIndonesia
Smac (SMC)Indonesia
Sriwijaya Air (SJY)Indonesia
Survei Udara PenasIndonesia
Transwisata Prima AviationIndonesia
Travel Ekspress Aviation Service (XAR)Indonesia
Travira UtamaIndonesia
Tri Mg Intra Airlines (TMG)Indonesia
Trigana Air Service (TGN)Indonesia
Wing Abadi Nusantara (WON)Indonesia
Air Company Kokshetau (KRT)Kazakhstan
Atma Airlines (AMA)Kazakhstan
Berkut Air/Bek Air (BKT)Kazakhstan
East Wing (Airline) (EWZ)Kazakhstan
Sayat Air (SYM)Kazakhstan
Starline KZ (LMZ)Kazakhstan
Air Manas (MBB)Kyrgyz Republic
Avia Traffic Company (AVJ)Kyrgyz Republic
Aerostan (Ex Bistair-Fez Bishkek) (BSC)Kyrgyz Republic
Click Airways (CGK)Kyrgyz Republic
Dames (DAM)Kyrgyz Republic
Eastok AviaKyrgyz Republic
Golden Rule Airlines (GRS)Kyrgyz Republic
Itek Air 04 (IKA)Kyrgyz Republic
Kyrgyz Trans Avia (KTC)Kyrgyz Republic
Kyrgyzstan (LYN)Kyrgyz Republic
Max Avia (MAI)Kyrgyz Republic
S Group AviationKyrgyz Republic
Sky Gate International Aviation (SGD)Kyrgyz Republic
Sky Way Air (SAB)Kyrgyz Republic
Tenir Airlines (TEB)Kyrgyz Republic
Trast Aero (TSJ)Kyrgyz Republic
Valor AirKyrgyz Republic
Silverback Cargo Freighters (VRB)Rwanda
Air Rum, Ltd (RUM)Sierra Leone
Destiny Air Services, Ltd (DTY)Sierra Leone
Heavylift CargoSierra Leone
Orange Air Sierra Leone Ltd (ORJ)Sierra Leone
Paramount Airlines, Ltd (PRR)Sierra Leone
Seven Four Eight Air Services Ltd (SVT)Sierra Leone
Teebah AirwaysSierra Leone
Air West Co.Ltd (AWZ)Sudan
Aero Africa (RFC)Swaziland
Jet Africa Swaziland (OSW)Swaziland
Royal Swazi National Airways Corporation (RSN)Swaziland
Scan Air Charter LtdSwaziland
Swazi Express Airways (SWX)Swaziland
Swaziland Airlink (SZL)Swaziland
One Two Go Airlines Company Limited (OTG)Thailand
Motor Sich Airlines (MSI)Ukraine
Ukraine Cargo Airways (UKS)Ukraine
Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines (UKM)Ukraine
Volare Aviation Enterprise (VRE)Ukraine

Can Airlines be Redeemed? 
The European Commission argues one of the principal benefits of its blacklist – other than keeping Europeans out of unsafe planes - is the encouragement it offers to prohibited airlines to reform.
"The list acts a strong incentive to remedy safety deficiencies; withdrawal from the list is indeed possible, when the parties concerned put effectively in place sound corrective action to comply with all relevant safety standards," explained the Commission.
The most recent list, for example, saw four Indonesian airlines - Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Mandala Airlines and Premiair – removed from the list following "significant" safety improvements by the Indonesian civil aviation authority.
Safe to Fly 
So then, with unsafe airlines banned and others encouraged to improve, European travellers can be reassured of their safety. Indeed the aforementioned Air France crash aroused such high levels of concern because it involved a flag-carrying European airline. Crashes involving such respected aviation companies are simply not supposed to happen.
But it is likely the event was the exception which proved the rule, with the European Commission acting to prevent unsafe airlines even offering their services on the continent.
* (with the exception of one Airbus 310 registered in France)

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