The Airlines Banned From Europe

Most jurisdictions have airline blacklists. Generally, airlines find themselves banned from certain jurisdictions because of safety concerns. Two of the best-known blacklists are those operated by the United States and the European Union. In the case of the European Union, the list of banned airlines gets updated around twice a year. This week, they’ve released their latest airline blacklist, and it makes for some interesting reading.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Mwant Jet is one of 96 airlines banned from the European Union. Photo: Mwant jet

There are a few caveats to this blacklist. Generally, a ban is slapped on all airlines from a certain nation, although airlines can be specifically targeted in some instances. Further, not all airlines on the list face a blanket ban. Some airlines can fly over and into the European Union on a restricted basis. Further not all the banned airlines are run regular passenger flights. Some are freight or charter airlines. Helicopter-centric “airlines” are also on the list.

The European Union released its latest blacklist on Tuesday, December 8. All up, 96 airlines from 22 countries cannot fly over or into the European Union. A further three airlines, all from different countries, are subject to operational restrictions within the European Union.

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The European Union typically blacklists all airlines from certain countries

Let’s start by running through the countries impacted by the current European Union blacklist. First off the block is Afghanistan. All airlines certified by Afghanistan’s regulatory authorities are banned, including Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air.

Next is Angola. Angolan airlines Aerojet, Guicango, Air Jet, Bestflya, Heliang, SJL, and Sonair, are all blacklisted from the European Union. However, TAAG Angola Airlines and Heli Malongo have dodged the blacklist. Guess you know which carrier you’ll fly on when next in that part of the world.

All Armenian airlines are banned from the European Union. That includes Aircompany Armenia, Armenia Airways, Armenian Helicopters, Atlantis Armenian Airliners, Atlantis European Airlines, Mars Avia, and the fabulously named Skyball.

Armenia Airways is one of the higher-profile airlines that cannot fly into the European Union. Photo: Susliktrubeckoi via Wikimedia Commons

Both Congos are on the list. The ban on Congo sees Canadian Airlines Congo, Equaflight Services, Equajet, Trans Air Congo, and Societe Nouvelle Air Congo all barred from the European Union. The ban on the Democratic Republic of Congo means Air Fast Congo, Air Katanga, Busy Bee Congo, Compagnie Africaine D’Aviation, Congo Airways, Kin Avia, Malu Aviation, Serve Air Cargo, Swala Aviation, and Mwant Jet cannot fly into the European Union.

Nearby Equatorial Guinea is also on the European Union no-fly list. That has local airlines Ceiba Intercontinental and Cronos Airlines blacklisted as well. In Eritrea, Eritrean Airlines and Nasair Eritrea are both banned.

Airlines from Kyrgystan, Libya, and Nepal all barred

The European Union has banned all airlines certified by aviation authorities in Kyrgystan. On the list is Air Company Air KG, Air Manas, Avia Traffic Company, Sky KG Airlines, and Tez Jet. Over in Northern Africa, all Libyan airlines are subject to the same rule. That sees Afriqiyah Airways, Air Libya, Al Mala Aviation, Buraq Air, Global Aviation and Services, Libyan Airlines, Libyan Wings Airlines, and Petro Air kept out of the European Union.

Despite a smart-looking plane, Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways won’t be landing in the European Union anytime soon. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

In Moldova, all airlines are banned from flying into or over the European Union except for Air Moldova, Fly One, and Aerotranscargo.

Meanwhile, the European Union might be thinking about lifting their blacklist on Nepalese airlines, but it still stands as of right now. There’s a lot of Nepalese airlines on the list, including many helicopter businesses. Currently on the European Union no-fly list are Air Dynasty Helicopter Services, Altitude Air, Buddha Air, Fishtail Air, Summit Air, Heli Everest, Himalaya Airlines, Kailash Helicopter Services, Makalu Air, Manang Air, Mountain Helicopters, Prabhu Helicopters, Nepal Airlines, Saurya Airlines, Shree Airlines, Simrik Air, Simrik Airlines, Sita Air, Tara Air, and Yeti Airlines.

Sudan also on the European Union’s radar

Sao Tome and Principe is also subject to a European Union ban. That means local airlines Africa’s Connection and STP Airways can’t fly to Europe.

Another sizeable country impacted by the European Union ban is Sudan. The European Union bans all Sudanese airlines. That sees Alfa Airlines, Badr Airlines, Blue Bird Aviation, Eldinder Aviation, Green Flag Aviation, Helejetic Air, Kata Air Transport, Kush Aviation, Nova Airways, Sudan Airways, Sun Air, and Tarco Air all blacklisted from European Union airports.

The European Union also blacklists airlines certified by local authorities in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. However, neither country has active airlines right now.

The European Union can ban specific airlines

With just a couple of exceptions, the above summary covers blanket bans on airlines operating out of certain countries. But there are also individual airlines based in countries outside the European Union who are subject to bans.

For example, Avior Airlines from Venezuela is banned, but no other airline from that country is.  Also individually targeted are Blue Wings Airlines from Suriname, Iran Aseman Airlines, Iraqi Airways, Med-View Airline from Nigeria, Air Zimbabwe, and Daalloo Airlines from Djibouti.

Following a scandal involving fake pilots licenses, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had its license to fly into Europe revoked. However, as this is only a temporary block, it is not included on the EU ban list. Nevertheless, following a recent extension, PIA remains barred from operating into the bloc until at least March.

Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767-200ER Getty
Well-known Air Zimbabwe is banned from the European Union. Photo: Getty Images

Some Air Koryo planes cleared to fly into the European Union

Finally, there’s a list of just three airlines in European Union purgatory – not quite in and not quite out when it comes to flying into the European Union. North Korea’s flagship airline, Air Koryo is banned except for two specific aircraft. Lest that sounds harsh, Air Koryo has only four planes – so half the fleet is good to go. Two TU-204s are good to fly into the European Union. Of course, Europe doesn’t regularly feature on Air Koryo’s destination list. It would surely be quite the local sensation if an Air Koryo aircraft touched down in Europe.

A Simple Flying favorite, Iran Air also has restricted access into the European Union. They can’t fly their three Fokker 100s into Europe. Brussels also takes a dim view of Iran Air’s dilapidated fleet of Boeing 747s, banning them. The rest of Iran Air’s fleet is cleared to fly into the European Union.

The European Union also bans all planes belong to Air Services Comores from Comoros. Except for one – they’ll let one Air Services Comores aircraft in, a plane registered as D6-CAM. That plane doesn’t crop up on either the AirFleets or databases. A Google search indicates the plane is a Let L-410 turboprop, one of only two planes in the Air Services Comores fleet.

It can fly in, but it might be a while before we see an Air Koryo plane land in Europe. Photo: Fedor Leukhin via Wikimedia Commons

The blacklist – a help or hindrance?

The European Union airline blacklist features airlines most of us wouldn’t have cause to fly on. So the blacklist has minimal day to day impact on us. Arguably, the blacklist is a good thing, helping to keep airlines that are unsafe or perceived to be unsafe out of European skies.

Of course, the big takeout from the list is that most banned airlines come from places lacking much in the way of economic firepower. That means local aviation regulatory and safety authorities are poorly funded, and standards can slip. The current European Union blacklist also provides a good indicator of where richer countries need to direct resources in order to improve aviation safety.

What do you think? Is this blacklist fair or not? Should these countries be helped to improve local aviation standards? Post a comment and let us know.