The European Union does not permit the entry of several airlines in any of its member states. It does so to ensure the safety of its own airfields, as it feels that management of several airlines is not caring enough. How is this justified?

No such ban is implemented by any Middle-East or American country, which have a very good safety record. What are the EU's views on banning airlines?

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    $\begingroup$ You can't really judge airline's safety from accident. One occurence might be just a bad luck. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Aug 15, 2015 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ you answer your title question by yourself: It does so to ensure safety of its own airfields. The real question, "How is this justified?", I feel that is not about aviation. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Aug 15, 2015 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ "How is this justified?": Assuming you mean what are the legal reasons given. Inspection on EU airports have shown anomalies in aircraft security, crew qualification, or in the way aircrafts / airlines are inspected by national agencies. The applicable regulation is 2011/2005. | More. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Aug 16, 2015 at 1:15
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    $\begingroup$ @jwenting: Reasons for banning are explained for each airline in the list itself. Either they don't comply with the ICAO Foreign Operator Check criteria (self assessment), they are indeed not authorized to fly in EU airspace, or anomalies where found "during ramp inspection under SAFA program". $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Aug 1, 2018 at 7:14
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    $\begingroup$ @mins i was commenting on the claim that they were banned in order to keep the EU skies safe. Which isn't the case for a lot of them. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Aug 1, 2018 at 8:05

2 Answers 2


I think the policy is completely justified. An analogy: You wouldn't allow an unsafe and unapproved car onto a highway in Europe where it presents a unjust danger to everybody else.

You have to remember that the European Union is a fairly compact bunch of nations: To get to Paris from Southeast Asia or Africa, you're probably looking at overflying at least two or three other countries. Thus, a single flight will have wider implications and involve multiple nations. The policy keeps everybody somewhat happy that they have safe airlines in their airspace. It also keeps their own citizens off the airline in question.

I do not think that it is a question of 'caring'. If they do not feel that the airline can safely fly, they ban it. Note that a fair number of the EU blacklist are automatically banned by country if they have insufficient oversight. It's also not a permanent 'thing' or sentence. Garuda Indonesia was on the EASA blacklist for two years until they brushed up, and are now back flying into the EU. Perhaps it might even have been good, since it pushed the company to improve their standards?

Here is a recent quote on the Iraqi Airlines ban:

ATW understands from unidentified sources that 600 non-EU airlines had applied for TCO authorization. Most had been granted with few problems, but a small number of airlines were subject to greater scrutiny because of their perceived high-risk status. Source

While perhaps less prominent, I think the United States will quickly block any unsafe airline from coming in, although perhaps on a more case-by-case basis. I believe there are other hurdles, such as airport security requirements, that have to be settled to fly into the United States and can act as barriers. I believe the same applies for any other nation.

Other countries say no as well, just perhaps not being as 'vocal':

Some Thai-registered airlines earlier faced flight restrictions by Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, following an audit of Thailand's air operations by the UN-based International Civil Aviation Organisation. In June the agency raised a red flag over aviation safety standards and gave the country until November to tackle the issue. Meanwhile, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last Friday gave Thailand 65 days to address shortcomings it had found. Source


The project existed earlier but there is a clear and immediate reason for the creation of the first EU “black list”, it's the West Caribbean Airways Flight 708. The crash created a lot of emotion in France. Here is a Guardian article from the time.

After that crash, the EU felt the need to be seen as “doing something”, especially since many passengers might not even have realized they booked a ticket on flight operated by some unknown third-country carrier. You can debate the wisdom of the approach or many other details of the current rules but the timeline is clear.

But the EU did not invent the concept, other countries (and also EU members states) did and do ban airlines from operating on their territories. And the justification is indeed that these airlines have serious deficiencies in their fleet, management and procedures. Even if you are personally not convinced, why would you expect that any other justification would be needed?


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