EU imposes ban on all but seven PIA planes

March 06, 2007

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BRUSSELS, March 5: The European Union on Monday banned almost the entire Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) fleet from flying to the 27-nation bloc, and lifted restrictions on two other carriers that had previously been on the EU's “blacklist”.

The executive European Commission said that only seven PIA Boeing 777s would be allowed to fly to the EU, confirming a Reuters report in February. The rest of the airline's fleet of 42 planes would be blocked for safety reasons. The EU's concerns focused on maintenance problems and old aircraft, specifically its Boeing 747s and Airbus 310s.

The state-run airline was warned last year that most of its planes failed to meet international standards, although the airline has said the EU's decision came as a surprise.

No immediate comment from the carrier was available on Monday.

The Commission said Thailand's Phuket Air had been dropped from the list of banned airlines after it addressed the EU's safety concerns. African cargo carrier DAS Air Cargo was also removed from the blacklist.

“For the first time, two carriers have been withdrawn from the blacklist after taking decisive action to remedy their failings,” Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said.

“This shows that our list acts not only as essential protection against unsafe operations but also as a strong and effective incentive for companies who deviate from international safety norms to address their shortcomings,” he said in a statement.

The EU extended a ban on Sudan's Air West to cover its entire fleet.

It said 49 carriers that were previously on the list had been withdrawn because they were no longer operating.—Reuters