The European Union updated its list of airlines banned or restricted in its airspace on December 9, 2019. After Gabon was removed from the list, 115 carriers are now subject to a flight ban to EU airports. Meanwhile, Armenia was put under “heightened scrutiny”.

“There is positive news for Gabon,” says the European Commission, announcing that all certified airlines in the central African country have been removed from the list. The decision follows observed “improvements to aviation safety.” 

Gabon was put on the list in 2008, meaning that airlines were banned from flying in EU airspace. “We can recognize the efforts the aviation safety authorities in Gabon have made," Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said.

As for Armenia, the scrutiny was increased following signs of a drop in safety oversight by the Armenian Civil Aviation Committee.

A total of 115 airlines are now banned from operating in the European Union:

  • 109 airlines certified in 15 countries, where “a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities“ was observed, namely Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of two airlines), Djibouti, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, Moldova (with the exception of three airlines), Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Sudan;

  • Six individual carriers, “based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves“, namely Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).

Additionally, Air Koryo (North Korea), Air Service Comoros (Comoros) and Iran Air (Iran) are banned from the European airspace if they operate specific aircraft within their fleet.

In October, Turkmenistan Airlines was authorized to resume operations within the European Union after a suspension of ten months over safety concerns. It carried out its first flight to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) on December 7, 2019.

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Turkmenistan Airlines was authorized to resume operations within the European Union after a suspension of ten months by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) over safety concerns.