There are in total 228 airline carriers blacklisted by the European Union. Planes from those carriers are not permitted to land in EU countries, nor fly in Europe’s airspace. There are also airlines that only have limited access to Europe’s airspace – for which not every type of plane is allowed to enter Europe.
The EU has one of the safest air spaces in the world because EU member states adhere to high standards in the field of aviation safety and monitoring. Outside the EU this is not always the case. The European Commission in 2005 drew up a ‘blacklist’ of global aviation carriers that do not meet the rigorous European safety standards, thereby protecting the EU’s airspace as far as possible from unsafe airlines. It is not permitted for these carriers to operate their own flights* to European member states, or to fly over them.
The 2015 edition of the blacklist contains 228 airlines from 21 different countries. More than a quarter of these airlines operates out of Indonesia – 59 Indonesian airlines are not welcome in Europe’s airspace. Just last month a Trigana Air plane crashed – one of the 59 banned airlines – whereby there were no survivors. Besides Indonesian carriers the most banned airliners stem from the Democratic Republic of Congo (21), Kazakhstan (19), Sudan (18), Mozambique (17) and Nepal (16). Kyrgyzstan and Angola both have 13 carriers prohibited from the European airspace. In total the list includes 15 African countries, which combined add 116 banned airliners to the list – more than half. The other countries are Asian, excepct Suriname, South America’s only entrant, facing one airline on the blacklist.
The EU has, besides a blacklist with totally banned carriers, a list of airlines that only have limited access to its airspace. Only a small number of planes from their respective fleets are permitted to operate within the EU. The list includes, among others, Air Astana, Iran Air and Air Koryo, the national airlines of Kazakhstan, Iran and North Korea respectively. Air Koryo may for example only operate two aircraft in EU airspace, since the others are deemed to be too risky, according to the European Commission.
* With aircraft and crew from other, not banned airlines, the banned carriers often can get permission to carry out flights to and across the EU countries. For flights without passengers – for maintenance in a European facility for example – exceptions are sometimes made.