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Indonesian airlines banned from EU

Indonesian airlines are to continue to be banned from using EU airspace because of their safety standards.

Three Indonesian airlines – national flag carrier Garuda plus domestic airlines Mandala and Airfast – had asked to be the first on a fast-track scheme to be removed from the EU’s airlines blacklist.

But although the airlines had made efforts to improve their safety standards, the EC and EU’s Air Safety Committee decided "Indonesian authorities have still not developed and implemented an efficient oversight programme on any of the carriers under their regulatory control".

In March last year a Garuda plane burst into flames after skidding off the runway at Yogyakarta airport in Central Java killing 21 people. The pilot concerned has this week been charged with negligence over the accident.

Another Indonesian airline, Adam Air, has been banned from flying after one of its planes crashed into the sea off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi due to pilot error in January 2007. Everyone on board was killed.

In May this year the Air Transport Association decided Garuda was fit to fly, giving the airline hope it would be removed from the EU blacklist. No Indonesian airlines actually fly to any EU countries, but the ban means that European passengers are wary of using the country’s airlines on popular tourist routes, for example to Bali.

Airlines from the West African state of Gabon have been added to the EU’s airlines blacklist, with the exception of Gabon Airlines and Afrijet, although they will not be able to expand their operations in Europe and will face regular safety checks. Also on the blacklist are airlines from Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Written by: Nick Purdom