Air Gabon Boeing 737-200 Photo credit: Creative Commons CC0 License.
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Gabon given access to EU airspace after 11 years

Gabonese airlines have been removed from the European Union Air Safety blacklist after 11 years. The country was withdrawn from the list following its “improvements in aviation safety”.

Airlines in Gabon such as the National Regional Transport (NRT), Solenta Aviation Gabon, Tropical Air Gabon and Afrijet Business Service can commence flights to Europe. Gabon has been removed from the list that banned its airlines from accessing the European Union airspace. The list is meant to ensure the highest level of air safety for passengers travelling to and within the European Union.

EU Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean was quoted by CTGN saying, “I am pleased to announce that the European Commission was able today to clear all Gabonese air carriers from the EU Air Safety List.

“Gabon was on the List already since 2008, so it is very good that we can recognise the efforts the aviation safety authorities in Gabon have made.”

Other African countries that remain banned include carriers based in the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Liberia, Libya, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan. Certain airlines such as Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe) were banned “based on safety concerns with regard to the airlines themselves.”

In the case of Angola all carriers (with the exception of TAAG Angola Airlines and Heli Malongo) remain banned, “due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities of these States,” the EU Commission confirmed.

Read: Brexit, Coloniality and Democracy – an African perspective on Britain’s exit from the European Union

The European Union Air Safety List

The EU Air Safety List is an overall record of airlines failing to meet regulatory oversight standards of the EU, and which are banned from entering the airspace of any member state.

The record however contains two lists. The first list (Annex A) includes all airlines banned from operating in Europe. The second list (Annex B) includes airlines that are restricted from operating under certain conditions in Europe. Both lists are updated regularly and published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The first version of the list was published in 2006 and the next version of the list was published on 30th of November 2017.

According to the Mobility and Transport section of the EU website, the process by which an air carrier is listed is laid out in Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of the European Parliament and Council. It involves consultation among the regulatory agencies of the member states, the institutions of the European Community, the authorities with responsibility for regulatory oversight of the air carrier concerned, and the air carrier itself.

It details that despite this each air carrier has the right of appeal before being listed and the list is subject to periodic review.

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