Armenian Aviation Under “Heightened Scrutiny” From EU

Armenian Aviation Under “Heightened Scrutiny” From EU

The European Union has updated its list of airlines banned or restricted in European airspace. With Gabon now removed from the list, some 115 carriers remain subject to a flight ban to EU airports. At the same time, Armenia has been put under “heightened security.”

“There is positive news for Gabon as all airlines certified in Gabon have been released from the list following improvements to the aviation safety situation in that country,” reads a Mobility and Transport release, “however, the Armenian Civil Aviation Committee has been put under heightened scrutiny because of signs of a decrease in safety oversight.”

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean explained: “[This] decision illustrates our continuous efforts to offer the highest level of safety. Not only to European travellers, but to travellers worldwide, because aviation safety knows no border or nationalities.

“Gabon was on the List already since 2008, so it is very good that we can recognise the efforts the aviation safety authorities in Gabon have made,” she said. 

As for Armenia, scrutiny from Brussels has increased following a drop in safety oversight by the Armenian Civil Aviation Committee. 

At present, only two airlines are registered in Armenia: Aircompany Armenia, and 2019 start-up Armenia Airways. Taron-Avia, a third airline, recently suspended operations due to financial insolvency; national carrier Air Armenia went in the same direction after Yerevan declared an open skies country. 

According to the new EU blacklist, a total of 115 airlines are banned from operating in European airspace, including: 

  • 109 airlines from 15 countries where “a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities” has been observed. The host countries singled out are Afghanistan, Angola (though two airlines have been excepted), Djibouti, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, Moldova (with three airlines excepted), Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Sudan.
  • Six carriers “based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves.” These include Avior Airlines from Venezuela, Iran Aseman Airlines, Iraqi Airways, Blue Wing Airlines from Suriname, Air Zimbabwe, and Medview Airlines from Nigeria. 
  • Moreover, North Korea’s Air Koryo, Air Service Comoros and Iran Air are banned from European airspace if they operate particular aircraft. 

The EU has already updated the airspace blacklist this quarter, authorising Turkmenistan Airlines to resume operations following a ten-month suspension over safety concerns. Turkmenistan Airlines carried out its first flight to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) on 7 December, 2019. 

Next year, the Commission plans to undertake a series of collaborative projects to boost global aviation safety. With the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the Commission will work with Angola and Mozambique to improve their safety oversight systems. 

Joanna Eva is a London-based analyst and contributor with a range of clients in the risk consulting industry. She specializes in Asian political and economic analysis, having lived and travelled extensively in the region for close to a decade. She holds a Master of Law from the University of New South Wales and received her Bachelor of International Studies from the University of Sydney. She is proficient in English and Mandarin Chinese.

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