All Indonesian carriers have been removed from Europe’s list of banned airlines just as the European Union is deploying a new system aimed at preventing unsafe aircraft entering its airspace.
The new EU alerting system is being deployed by Eurocontrol, the intergovernmental air traffic control organization covering 41 member and two comprehensive agreement states.
It builds on a requirement in force since 2016 that non-European aircraft entering European airspace have a single safety authorization known as a “third country operator authorization”, or TCO.
The new system will alert air traffic controllers in any EU state to any aircraft that does not have the authorization.
The aircraft will then be denied access to the airspace of that member state.
The move to allow all Indonesian carriers access to EU skies comes after Indonesia recently passed an International Civil Aviation Organisation country audit which led to three airlines — Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Batik Air— being upgraded by AirlineRatings to a seven-star safety rating.
Unaddressed safety concerns meant all Indonesian carriers were put on the EU Air Safety List of airlines that do not meet international standards and are banned from flying in European airspace in 2007.
Seven airlines, including flag carrier Garuda, were removed over the years but most of the nation’s carriers remained on the list until this week. Many will never fly to Europe but lifting the ban removes a black mark against them.
“The EU Air Safety List is one of our main instruments to continuously offer the highest level of air safety to Europeans. I am particularly glad that after years of work, we are today able to clear all air carriers from Indonesia,’’ EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said in a statement. “It shows that hard work and close cooperation pay off. I am also satisfied that we now have a new warning system to prevent unsafe aircraft from entering European airspace.”
A total of 119 airlines remain banned from EU skies.
These include 114 airlines certified in 15 states where there is lack of safety oversight from aviation authorities: Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of one airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of 2 airlines which operate under restrictions and conditions), the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Sudan.
Five individual airlines are on the list due to safety concerns with the carrier’s themselves. They are: Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).
An additional six airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).
The annual update of the EU list is based on the unanimous opinion of aviation safety experts meeting under the auspices of EU Air Safety Committee.
The assessment is made against international safety standards, most notably those made by ICAO.
It aims to keep European airspace safe while applying pressure on airlines and states to improve their safety performance.