- The British Department for Transport today decided to publish its secret list of airliners banned from British airspace out of safety reasons. Nine of them are African, coming from Equatorial Guinea, the Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Egypt, Cameroon and Congo Kinshasa. Egypt's Flash Airlines is not on the list.
British Transport Minister Tony McNulty today gave into pressure from the public and published the list of banned airliners. The question had been raised in the aftermath of the 3 January Flash Airlines accident in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, involving an aircraft that had been banned from Swiss airspace for security reasons.
So far, it has been an international standard to keep such national blacklists secret. Confidentiality rules also are applied by the international register of aircrafts and airliners.
Mr McNulty however was pressured into publishing the UK blacklist today. "If we have evidence that international standards are not being met," a permit to pick up or put down passengers or cargo in the UK may be refused or revoked, the Transport Ministry explains the blacklist.
Not all permit refusals are based on security issues, although most are. "Permits may also be refused for other reasons, such as non payment of fines for offences under immigration legislation," the Ministry's statement says.
The British list includes all aircrafts operated by airlines from Equatorial Guinea, the Gambia, Liberia and Tajikistan. For these "national" bans, "inadequate safety regulation" was quoted as the reason for the restrictions imposed.
Further, the list over individual airliners included Star Air Ltd and Air Universal (Sierra Leone), Air Memphis (Egypt), Cameroon Airlines and Central Air Express (Congo Kinshasa), in addition to individual airliners from Latvia, Estonia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Albania and Kyrgyzstan.
Reasons given for banning these airliners from British airspace were diverse, but mostly related to "inadequate safety regulation". The case of Cameroon Airlines however was due to the "non-payment of Carriers Liability Act fines for transporting inadequately documented passengers."
For Egyptian aviation and tourism, the British document represents yet another setback. The airliner Air Memphis was included on the list, due to "adverse ramp inspection findings. There was no response from the Egyptian authorities to the finding," according to the British Ministry.
Egypt's Flash Airlines, which is not banned in Britain, has been banned by Swiss authorities. Saturday's accident, involving a Flash Airlines aircraft, is believed to have been due to "technical reasons". A ceremony for the families of the 148 people killed at the crash was today held in Sharm el Sheikh.
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