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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 13:26 UK

EU wants world aviation blacklist

An airliner (file pic)
Air safety experts advise the Commission for its airline audit

The EU's transport chief has called for a worldwide blacklist of airlines deemed unsafe, as investigators probe the crash of a Yemeni airliner.

"My idea is to propose a world blacklist similar to that in the EU," Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani told reporters.

A Yemenia Airbus 310 crashed on Tuesday near the Comoros in the Indian Ocean, with 153 people on board.

Yemenia Air is not on the EU's blacklist, which is updated regularly.

Mr Tajani said he would contact Yemenia to "see what happened and to verify the level of safety" of its operations in Europe.

A French minister said faults were found on the same plane during a check in 2007.

Dozens banned

Following the accident overnight, a child has been rescued alive and some bodies have been found.

Reports say the plane was due in the Comoros capital Moroni at about 0230 (2230 GMT on Monday). Most of the passengers had travelled to Yemen's capital Sanaa from Paris or Marseille on a different aircraft.

"If we want to achieve better safety I'm convinced that we need to have a worldwide blacklist, the European blacklist works pretty well in Europe," Mr Tajani said.

"Otherwise it's going to be difficult to have an adequate level of safety."

The EU blacklists dozens of airlines from across the world - most of them from Africa and Asia - meaning they are banned from flying to the 27-nation bloc.

Yemenia concerns

Mr Tajani, quoted by Reuters, said "the plane that crashed was not the plane that travelled in Europe, and that's why we want to control with Yemeni airlines which planes it is using, because the plane that flew in Europe was a good plane, the French did control it".

A Yemenia Airbus A330 flew the Paris-Marseille-Yemen leg of the journey. But in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, the passengers who were flying on to the Comoros boarded a second Yemenia plane, the A310 that crashed.

In November 2008 the European Commission reported on Yemenia's safety performance, saying the airline had been implementing a "corrective action plan in the area of maintenance and operational discipline in a sustainable manner, to avoid the recurrence of significant safety deficiencies".

Spot inspections of Yemenia planes, known as "ramp checks", had earlier revealed "serious non-compliances", the Commission said.

But it concluded that Yemenia had reacted "appropriately and in a timely manner" to resolve the shortcomings. So the Commission decided not to blacklist Yemenia.

The list includes all of Benin's carriers, airlines in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kyrgyzstan and six based in Kazakhstan.

The list also includes One Two Go Airlines of Thailand and Motor Sich Airlines of Ukraine.

The European Commission says Angola and Indonesia have made improvements but it is maintaining a ban on all their airlines.



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