EU Permits All Philippines-based Airlines to Fly in the Bloc

The European Union allowed all Philippines-based airlines to fly in the bloc under the latest changes to a list of unsafe carriers.

The decision dismantles the final part of an EU flight ban against the Philippines imposed five years ago. The EU eased the prohibition in 2013 by authorizing Philippine Airlines Inc. to fly in Europe and scaled back the curbs again last year by permitting Cebu Air Inc. to operate in the 28-nation bloc.

“After five years of hard work, we are finally able to clear the airlines certified in the Philippines,” EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said in a statement on Thursday in Brussels.

The EU put all Philippine carriers on its blacklist in March 2010, citing shortcomings in the Asian country’s regulation of the industry.

The blacklist was first drawn up by the European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, in March 2006 with more than 90 airlines, mainly from Africa. The ban covers passenger and cargo carriers from nations including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Sudan and Zambia.

Airline crashes in 2004 and 2005 that killed hundreds of European travelers prompted EU governments to seek a uniform approach to airline safety through a common blacklist. The list, updated generally twice a year, is based on deficiencies found during checks at European airports, the use of antiquated aircraft by companies and shortcomings by non-EU airline regulators.

In addition to imposing an operational ban in Europe, the blacklist can act as a guide for travelers worldwide and influence safety policies in non-EU countries. Nations that are home to carriers with poor safety records can ground them to avoid being put on the EU list, while countries keen to keep out unsafe foreign airlines can use the European list as a guide for their own bans.

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