23-Nov-2010 11:07 AM

Safi negotiates purchase of European airline as EU bans Afghan carriers

Safi Airways stated it is negotiating the purchase of a European airline in order to resume services to Frankfurt that were halted when the European Union banned Afghan-registered airlines from operating to the European Union from 23-Nov-2010 (Gulf News/Gulf Times/Arabian Aerospace/Reuters, 23-Nov-2010). The European Commission is banning services of all airlines from Afghanistan due to the absence of an aviation regulation authority. The ban also affects Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air. The EU had earlier allowed airlines from the country to operate to Frankfurt by wet leasing. Ariana was the only carrier previously on the EU blacklist. Safi commented that the EU decision represented a "serious setback for scheduled traffic between Afghanistan and Europe". Safi Airways also criticised the Kabul Government for not reacting to an EC demand to meet international civil aviation standards, issued “several months ago”. Afghanistan has failed to develop its own Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that functions in accordance with the international civil aviation standards established and controlled by ICAO.

Safi Airways: “It is very unfortunate Safi Airways got to know about the possible ban way too late. The German CAA has inspected Safi’s aircraft multiple times since Safi started the Frankfurt-Kabul service in June 2009. These ramp checks have contributed to the optimization of our safety standards and have never lead to an operating ban for Safi Airways. What makes this ban especially hard for us is the fact that, the EU commission has on several occasions confirmed that it does not see a safety risk in Safi’s operations. Operating Safi Airways as an European airline is not such a major step for us. We have always operated our services in accordance with EU standards and the Safi Group already has European subsidiaries. Our aircraft are maintained by Lufthansa Technik in Frankfurt and we employ mainly European pilots, managers and technical specialists. We wish to stress that we plan the official IOSA audit - a worldwide applied and recognized aviation standard ensuring Quality and Safety standards are consistently applied - by a renowned German agency in January 2011," Werner Borchert, CEO. Source: Arabian Aerospace, 23-Nov-2010. 

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