Worried by aviation safety in Africa, the European Union has continued to expand its list of African airlines that are not permitted to operate into its airspace.
The new list has 284 airlines from 24 countries worldwide currently barred from flying into Europe. Out of the 24 countries worldwide with airlines on the banned list, 17 of them or over 70 per cent are from Africa. This means that about a third of all African countries are on the banned list.
But the good news is that no Nigerian airline featured on the list, which observers had described as image damaging.
Top on the list in Africa is Democratic Republic of Congo with 36 carriers, while Sudan has 14 and Mozambique and Angola had 13 each.
Others are Sao Tome and Principe 10, Benin Republic 8, Gabon 7, Sierra Leone 7, Republic of Congo 5, Ghana 1, Rwanda 1, Djibouti 1, Zambia 1, and Mauritania1.
The new list, which was published in April this year, was the subject of debate at the on-going International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) African Ministerial Meeting on Aviation Safety taking place in Abuja.
Experts are curious that currently, no African country had ever been removed from the list even as they insisted that there had been general improvement of aviation safety on the continent, adding that a number of countries on the list had rectified several safety deficiencies identified through ICAO audits.
They accused EU of including many African carriers on the list to expand their operations into the continent, just as they admitted that the continent’s carriers still needed to maintain high aviation safety and work towards exiting the list.