EU bans Garuda flights
Brussels, June 28, 2007
All Indonesian airlines including national carrier Garuda will be banned from flying to the European Union within a week, the European Commission said, updating a 'blacklist' of carriers deemed unsafe.
Indonesian carriers do not currently fly to Europe so the ban is also a warning to the 27-nation EU's consumers and travel agencies not to use the country's airlines, an EU official said.
'European citizens should avoid flying with these carriers,' the official said. 'They are really unsafe.'
Angola's TAAG Angolan Airlines and Volare Aviation Enterprise of Ukraine would also be banned, the EU executive said. Ten Russian airlines, six from EU member Bulgaria and eight from Moldova will cease operations within the bloc.
'The EU blacklist will prove to be an essential tool not only to prevent unsafe airlines from flying to Europe ... but also to make sure that airlines and civil aviation authorities take appropriate actions to improve safety,' Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a ban on most aircraft operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), in force since March, will be lifted for specific Boeing 747 and Airbus 310 planes, it said.
The carrier's fleet of Boeing 777s remains authorised.
Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, Indonesian ambassador to the EU, said Indonesian airlines were safe and he hoped the EU would rethink its decision at a meeting of air safety experts in October.
'It is our commitment and our determination to have safety in our civil aviation,' he said. 'We hope that the European Union can also give us the opportunity to improve.'
He said Indonesia's director-general for aviation had invited EU officials to a conference on air safety in July.
Indonesian officials would return to Brussels in October to talk about improvements in safety standards made in the country's civil aviation sector, the ambassador said.
The Indonesian carrier ban applies to all 51 airlines certified in that country.
The decision, following advice from an EU air safety committee, is expected to be formalised within a week.
The Commission advised EU countries to start preparing for the ban immediately. Reuters
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