Local aviation experts have commented on the recently released list of airlines banned from the European airspace due to safety concerns.
“I don’t know the basis of the ban and wouldn’t like to comment on it but what I know is that the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) is doing all it can to avoid being affected by such measure,” Dr. Richard Masozera Director General of RCAA said.
Masozera said that RCAA has invested heavily and will continue to invest in safety and international standards.
John Milenge Acting Chief Executive Officer of Rwandair Express said that the national carrier has never operated European routes and neither intends to operate them.
“I have not seen the list but how would they ban airliners which are to operate those routes? We don’t intend to operate those routes until we get an appropriate airline,” he emphasised.
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) based in Nairobi, Kenya recently expressed concern about the European Union’s latest list where 13 of the 17 countries affected by the EU ban are from Africa , with a total of 111 African airlines “blacklisted.”
“Air safety is AFRAA’s number one priority and we are the first to admit that Africa needs to improve its air safety record,” said Nick Fadugba, Secretary General of AFRAA.
According to AFRAA statement, the EU list has the effect of damaging the reputation and business of many scheduled African airlines whose safety records and adherence to international safety standards are comparable to the best airlines anywhere in the world.
The association blames the EU list because it includes African airlines that have never operated scheduled flights to Europe, do not plan to do so and have no aircraft with the range to fly to any EU state.
The list also includes many airlines that only exist on paper and are not operational.