The European Union on Wednesday banned 92, mostly African-based airlines from landing at European airports, declaring them unsafe as part of a new blacklist of airlines that fail to meet international safety standards.
The EU list, compiled from the 25 EU countries, includes both cargo and passenger carriers from Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Liberia judged to have an "inadequate system for regulatory oversight" on safety standards and which will now no longer be able to fly to EU destinations.
The EU listed 50 barred carriers from Congo alone, 14 from Sierra Leone and seven airlines from Swaziland.
The list also included Ariana Afghan Airlines, South Korea's Air Koryo and Thailand's Phuket Airlines.
Lesser restrictions were placed on Air Bangladesh and Buraq Air from Libya, which will be able to operate flights if they use leased planes that meet safety requirements, the European Commission said.
"This blacklist will keep dubious airlines out of Europe," EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said. "It will also make sure that all airlines operating in Europe's skies meet the highest safety standards."
The EU list also covers aircraft chartered from companies in non-EU countries.
It was published on the EU's Web site Wednesday and is supposed to be brought to the attention of customers by travel agents, both at ticket sales offices and on their Web sites, EU officials said.
Tour operators will have an obligation to inform passengers on the identity of the carrier.
Under the new rules, passengers will also have a right to compensation if the airline on which they were to fly was included on the blacklist or replaced by a blacklisted airline after they bought the ticket.
The commission said it will review the list every three months with the EU's aviation safety agency, either adding new airlines or taking off carriers that meet EU safety standards.
Barrot said the EU would also provide aid to African nations in trying to upgrade safety standards of airlines based there that are on the EU's list.
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