Blacklist Possible Based On Safety Concerns
The Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus may be
the first European country to lose the right to fly aircraft to the
rest of Europe.
Last August, a Helios Airlines 737 went down in Greece with the
loss of 114 passengers and crew due to a loss of cabin
Despite the name change of "Helios" to "A-Jet", the airline
company, along with all of civil aviation from the Republic of
Cyprus, faces the possibility of being blacklisted by the European
Union because of unresolved safety concerns.
ANN reported several months
ago the Cypriot aviation infrastructure is
woefully understaffed with virtually no systems in place to
regulate air safety.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is now meeting in
Poland and they are seriously considering the ban because nearly
two thirds of their recommendations have not been implemented.
Last July, the European Commission sent a letter to Cyprus
aviation authorities, asking that the shortcomings with air safety
be urgently addressed. The Cypriot officials responded three weeks
later, but their arguments were not considered satisfactory to the
The EASA blacklist currently includes some 90 airlines from
African countries, such as the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and
others such as Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan and Afghanistan.
Cyprus has contracted with a US aviation consultancy firm
to diagnose the island's civil aviation industry, but it remains to
be seen if reforms and increased staffing can be accomplished in
In an ironic twist, the Republic of Cyprus will host the 56th
Conference of the European Civil Aviation Committee -- taking place
next year. The EASA is scheduled to attend.