EU bans Nepal airlines

EU bans Nepal airlines

BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Thursday put all Nepal airlines on its safety blacklist, banning them from flying to the EU, and said the Philippines, Sudan and Zambia were making improvements.

"The current safety situation in Nepal does not leave us any other choice than to put all of its carriers on the EU air safety list," EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said.

"We do hope that this ban will help the aviation authorities to improve aviation safety," Kallas said in a statement.

The Commissioner cited progress in several countries, among them the Philippines, Sudan and Zambia although for the moment they remain on the list, barring them from flights to, or within the 28 EU member countries.

No airlines from Nepal fly to the EU, but a Commission spokeswoman said that with the country, an important tourist destination, on the list anyone booking a flight with one of its airlines would see the EU notification of its status.

EU operators and travel agents will also have to inform prospective passengers who can claim repayment if they have already booked a flight, the Commission said.

The current EU safety list covers 21 countries and some 295 airlines -- Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Swaziland and Zambia.

There are some exemptions in the listed countries and some airlines are also allowed into the EU but under strict conditions.

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