The civil aviation authorities of the European Union have decided to keep all Mozambican air companies on the white list of carriers that are banned from flying in E.U. airspace even though the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has given Mozambique a clean bill of health.
According to a report on Tuesday, the ban was reaffirmed at a meeting of the European civil aviation authorities held on 8-10 November.
The regulatory body, the Mozambique Civil Aviation Institute (IACM), had been optimistic that the ban would be lifted since the safety problems invoked by the EU in April, when the ban was imposed, have been overcome.
Audits undertaken in September showed that the irregularities detected by the ICAO have been solved. Mozambique was therefore removed from the ICAO black list, and the IACM assumed that the country’s carriers would also be removed from the EU black list.
The only reasons that the EU gave for blacklisting the Mozambican companies were the criticisms of the IACM contained in a January ICAO audit, which found that 77 per cent of ICAO standards were not being effectively implemented.
Now that the ICAO has revisited Mozambique and has approved of the reforms made by the IACM, it would be logical to assume that the EU would lift the ban.
Mozambican Transport Minister Paulo Zucula is prepared to give the EU the benefit of the doubt. He told “O Pais” that, since the September ICAO report has not yet been published, the EU civil aviation authorities may be unaware of its findings, In that case, they will have based their decision on the old ICAO documents the ones used to justify the ban in April.
Zucula said that he had met with the European Commission’s ambassador to Mozambique on Monday. The ambassador had told him that the next European civil aviation meeting was scheduled for April, and could discuss the situation of Mozambique. He thought, however, that the meeting might be brought forward.
The ban has no direct impact, since currently no Mozambican air companies are flying to Europe. However, the indirect impact can be considerable for if EU member states advise their citizens not to travel in flights of Mozambican companies, that will hit their ticket sales, and might even reduce the number of tourists visiting Mozambique.