France, Belgium publish lists of [UNKNOWN] ~Qunsafe~R airlines

France, Belgium publish lists of ‘QunsafeR’ airlines
(AFP)

Agence France Presse
Aug 29 2005

PARIS – Acting in response to a series of civil aviation disasters,
both France and Belgium published on Monday a list of airlines banned
from their airspace for safety reasons.

France said it had banned five passenger carriers, and Belgium nine
cargo companies.

The action had the full support of the European Commission, which is
trying to implement an EU-wide list of suspect airlines that pools
safety information from all 25 member states.

The announcement of the name-and-shame policy follows a string of
fatal accidents this month, including a crash on August 16 that killed
160 people in Venezuela, almost all of them French tourists from the
Caribbean island of Martinique.

Fatal crashes have also occurred this month near Athens and off the
coast of Sicily.

The initiative brings France and Belgium into line with Britain,
Switzerland and the United States, where authorities have either
identified banned airlines or named countries where civil aviation
regulations are deemed to be inadequate.

But some in the industry have criticised the proposal, saying the only
way to improve security is to increase inspections and put pressure
on foreign civil aviation authorities to enforce more stringent
safety regulations.

Many tour operators in France were skeptical about the blacklists,
noting that many of the companies were unknown, and had never even
asked to fly to France.

“This list is a mistake because it leads one to believe that companies
not on the list are not risky, which is false,” said Jean-Pierre Mas,
president of Afat-Voyages.

“Furthermore, no carrier that has had an accident since 2004 is on
the French list,” added Mas.

Maxime Coffin, director of security and control at DGAC, France’s
civil aviation authority, said he accepted that the list was “not a
universal response or a panacea” to security fears after five aviation
disasters in the last month.

“Putting companies on a list is not enough to avoid all accidents,”
said Coffin, but by being more transparent, we are improving the
information available to passengers and its a way for each state to
strengthen control over its airlines.”

Coffin said the lists would also accelerate Europe-wide efforts to
monitor the issue.

Of the combined 14 airlines banned by France and Belgium, seven
are African.

The publication of the lists prompted an admission from African Air
safety regulator ASECNA, that the continent had a dearth of expertise
in the area of airline safety.

“This lack of expertise concerns the technical and commercial viability
of carriers and it’s the same for every country in Africa,” said
Amadou Ousmane, head of ASECNA, which includes 17 mainly francophone
African countries and France and is based in Dakar.

Ousmane said he believed the publication of the lists was a good thing,
commenting that air accidents in Africa occur because companies get
around the safety inspections and regulations.

“It will let the public know that it’s not safe to take any old
company,” he said.

For Thai carrier Phuket Airlines, which recently had one of its planes
impounded at South Korea’s Incheon International Airport amid a row
over maintenance and service fees, the publication of the French list,
on which it figures, was the latest blow.

“We don’t know what is the reason and what is the meaning to
justify that we are unsafe,” said airline vice-president Chawanit
Chiamcharoenvut.

“But we have to accept their decision… and improve our safety and
maintenance.”

The list of outlawed carriers, which appear on the web sites of the
French and Belgian civil aviation authorities, are as follows.

France: Air Koryo from North Korea; Air Saint-Thomas from the United
States; International Air Service from Liberia; Air Mozambique
(LAM) along with affiliated carrier Transairways; and Phuket Airways
of Thailand, which had not previously been named by the transport
ministry.

Belgium: Africa Lines (Central African Republic); Air Memphis (Egypt);
Air Van Airlines (Armenia); Central Air Express (Democratic Republic of
the Congo); ICTTPW (Libya); International Air Tours Limited (Nigeria);
Johnsons Air Limited (Ghana); Silverback Cargo Freighters (Rwanda);
and South Airlines (Ukraine).

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