The European Commission (EC) has added four airlines to the European Union (EU) Air Safety List, including Air Zimbabwe, but at the same time lifted an earlier ban on all carriers from Benin and Mozambique.

In the May 16 update, all airlines certified in Benin and Mozambique were cleared from the list, following safety oversight improvements.

“Their reforms have paid off. This is also a signal to the 16 countries that remain on the list. It shows that work and cooperation pays off. The Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency [EASA] are ready to assist them and raise the safety standards worldwide,” European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc said.

Air Zimbabwe was the highest profile of the four newly banned carriers, sitting alongside Nigeria’s Medview Airline, Mustique Airways from St Vincent and the Grenadines and Ukrainian carrier Air Urga.

The EC said the four failed to address safety deficiencies picked up during an EASA third-country operator audit.

Banned airlines on the EU Air Safety List cannot operate to, from or within the EU, but many of the 181 blacklisted carriers do not have European operations.

The EU sometimes bans every airline from a country because of poor regulatory oversight; this applies to the vast majority of banned airlines—174 airlines in 16 states—even though the airline itself may have a safe operation.

The remaining seven airlines are blacklisted because specific safety concerns with their operation. Alongside the four new additions, these comprise Iran Aseman Airlines, Iraqi Airways and Suriname carrier Blue Wing Airlines.

Finally, six airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Gabonese carriers Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG, Korean carrier Air Koryo, Air Service Comores from the Comoros, Iran Air and TAAG Angola Airlines.

Victoria Moores