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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 January, 2004, 15:50 GMT
UK's airline blacklist published
Crash debris
The downed Egyptian plane was banned from Switzerland
A list of airlines from eight countries which are banned from flying in UK air space has been published.

However, the names of two airlines banned by another European country in 2002 and still able to fly to the UK have not been released.

The naming follows the Flash Airline crash in Egypt last week, and the revelation the Swiss had banned Flash.

All aircraft operated by airlines from Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Liberia and Tajikistan have been banned.

The others on the blacklist are Sierra Leone's Star Air and Air Universal, Cameroon Airlines, Albanian Airlines and Central Air Express, from DR Congo.

Banned airlines
Star Air (Sierra Leone)
Air Universal (Sierra Leone)
Cameroon Airlines
Albanian Airlines
Central Air Express (DR Congo)
Responding to a question from Tory MP David Wilshire, Transport Minister Tony McNulty said that the UK had a "rigorous safety regime" when it came to air travel.

"If we have evidence that international standards are not being met a permit may be refused or revoked. Permits may also be refused for other reasons, such as non-payment of fines for offences under immigration legislation," he said in a written answer.

"In addition, we require permit applicants, where appropriate, to confirm that aircraft are equipped with certain equipment such as ground proximity warning systems and the airborne collision avoidance systems.

Right to know?

"Permit applications have been turned down in the absence of such confirmation."

Two airlines banned or restricted in at least one European country in 2002 were still flying from the UK in 2003.

But their names are being kept secret, amid international confusion on confidentiality rules, a BBC News Online investigation has learned.

Mr Wilshire told BBC News: "If a government bans an airline from its airspace it has to have a good reason.

"And we have a right to know whether it is sensible to get on an aircraft."

A number of other airlines were listed as having not had permits to fly at some time during the period January 2000 and December 2003.

Among them was Air Memphis, which did not have a permit - after Egyptian authorities failed to respond to "adverse ramp inspection findings" - to fly in UK air space from April 1999 to May 2002.

During this period it did not apply for a permit and when it next applied for a permit to fly in UK air space, in May 2002, it was granted, and it has since been flying regularly in British air space with the full approval of British safety officials.


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