The European Parliament yesterday gave its tacit approval for the creation of a blacklist of airlines that are considered too unsafe to fly within European Union airspace.
The list follows several accidents that have been monitored by member states and the EU itself and is the result of a compromise bill hammered out with the EU's Executive Commission and the Council of Member States.
The new rules are expected to operate from January 2006 and France, Belgium and Britain have already published lists of airlines that are banned due to poor safety records. In the European Parliament, 577 members voted for the measures, while 16 voted against and 31 abstained.
Under the EU plan, an airline passenger booking a flight must now be told the name of his or her carrier. If the airline is on the blacklist, that passenger would be entitled to reimbursement of the ticket, or transfer to a flight with a different carrier.
So far, Britain has blacklisted airlines from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Tajikistan. It has also denied landing rights to Air Mauritanie and Thai airline Phuket Airlines due to safety concerns.