[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 16:37 GMT
Africa relies on EU-banned planes
By Mark Doyle
BBC world affairs correspondent

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
Liberia's Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf used the EU-banned Paramount

Most of the 90 plus airlines that have now been blacklisted from operating in the European Union are in Africa.

But even if EU officials think they are unsafe, most people in Africa will have little choice but to continue using them.

The list includes several airlines that are more or less essential to use if you want to get around some parts of the continent.

Weasua airlines, for example, based in Liberia but now banned in the EU, provides a regular service up and down the West African coast.

Its rather elderly planes, brought from the former Soviet Union, are not the most comfortable, but in my experience its schedules are usually adhered to.

That counts for a lot in a region where timekeeping is not often a top priority.

City hopping

In Sierra Leone Paramount Airlines, also now banned in the EU, provides a vital helicopter link across a wide estuary between the airport and the capital Freetown.

VIPs often use Paramount's services. The recently elected president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, for example, used a Paramount helicopter during her election campaign last year.

On the other side of the continent, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an airline called TMK Air Commuter has also been banned in the EU.

This airline provides a regular, and to many people essential, service hopping up and down the cities of eastern Congo.

EU unveils air safety blacklist
22 Mar 06 |  Europe
EU plans unsafe airline blacklist
16 Nov 05 |  Business
Banned airlines lists published
29 Aug 05 |  Europe
Venezuela air inquiry 'wide open'
22 Aug 05 |  Americas
Air disasters timeline
17 Aug 05 |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific