Following the publication of the latest update to the EU blacklist of foreign carriers in July of this year, which removed Philippine Airlines and Venezuelan carrier Conviasa from the list, Tony Tyler, the Director General of IATA, spoke out again about the lack of transparency in the decision-making process followed by the EU in adding and removing airlines or whole countries to or from the EU blacklist.
In June 2013, Tony Tyler called the EU’s list of banned airlines “absurd” when speaking at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. Of the 20 countries currently subject to a blanket ban on the EU blacklist, 15 of them are African, and Tyler has warned that the EU’s disproportionate focus on Africa has led many observers to conclude that its blacklist is a mercantile policy masquerading as a safety policy. He says “the point that all the African airlines make – and that we certainly agree with – is that if a government isn’t exercising sufficient regulatory oversight on aviation, then that applies equally to air navigation service, ground services and everything else. So if it’s not safe for the African carrier to operate into Europe, then why is it safe for the European carrier to operate to the African country?”
The EU’s disproportionate focus on Africa has led many observers to conclude that its blacklist is a mercantile policy masquerading as
a safety policy.
IATA takes a different approach, it says, to that taken by the European Commission, by working with countries to put in place IATA operational safety audits (IOSAs), and engage with countries and carriers on the implementation of IOSA training programmes, as opposed to penalising under-performing airlines. In calling for greater transparency, Tyler said “There are no clear guidelines on what you have to do to get off the banned list...or, indeed how exactly you got on it. In America, the FAA says you’re Category 2, then it identifies what
particular tests you have failed, or what you’re not doing properly, but in Europe there is no checklist. There are no specifications about what standards they want.”
In a thinly veiled reference to the EU’s unilateral imposition of its own emissions trading scheme on foreign carriers, Tyler said:
“ICAO does its own inspections of the regulatory authorities and helps them lift their game where necessary. But Europe is going off on its own again, as it seems to love doing in this industry.”