EU Aims for Airline Blacklist in 2006

The European Union, concerned about a spate of plane crashes this summer, hopes to publish early next year a list of airlines barred from flying in the EU due to shaky safety records, officials said Friday.

They said the European Commission will ask all 25 EU governments to provide their national blacklists so they can be turned into an EU-wide listing. At the moment, it is up to each EU government to make its blacklist public.

Earlier Friday, EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot welcomed Belgian and French decisions to publish their blacklists, calling it "a good step toward the consolidated European list."

He added such a list will ensure "information on the situation in all member states is available to the public and allow an extension of a ban to the whole EU."

Under the plan, an airline banned in one EU nation would be barred from providing services to and from any other. The list would include European and non-European air carriers.

Compiling an EU blacklist and making it public will require the approval of all EU governments and the European Parliament. In the past, the EU executive commission and EU governments have disagreed about the wisdom of publishing the names of airlines with questionable safety records.

The issue has gained urgency following five airplane crashes _ in Greece, Italy, Canada, Peru and Venezuela _ in recent weeks.

Last summer, Ghana Airways was barred from flying into and out of the United States because of concerns that its planes weren't safe.

Aviation safety standards are set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency headquartered in Montreal.

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