At the beginning of December, the European Commission announced that any airline operating within, and belonging to, the geographic border of Libya is no longer permitted to use the airspace of EU.
Libya has been facing massive unrests since the overthrowing of Muhammar Gaddafi back in 2011. The unrest and lawlessness reached its peak in mid 2014 and the situation has not gotten any better even as the year approaches its end. The decision to put the Libyan Airlines in the list seems inevitable based on the current situation.
According to the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, the Civil Aviation Authority of Libya is no longer capable of enforcing the international aviation safety standards. After incurring massive damage at the hands of both militants and air force, the last international airport situated in Tripoli was closed down last July. Recently, the air force attacked the Islamist militants at Tripoli’s Mitiga airfield, the capital’s last functioning airport.
Bulc however also said that they do not expect this ban to be permanent and they even intend to help the country’s aviation sector as soon as the situation would allow it. But since the Commission’s main interest is ensuring the safety of Libyan Airlines' passengers, under current circumstances the decision is non-negotiable.
The “ban list” contains seven Libyan companies including Air Libya, Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways.
With the inclusion of Libya, European Union’s air safety list now contains a total of 21 countries’ 310 airlines. In most cases no aircrafts from these countries are allowed to enter the union’s airspace while the exceptions are obligated to a series of strict restrictions.
The ban list covers countries from both Asia and Africa mostly for political unrests. Some of them are Afghanistan, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Nepal, Sudan, Philippines and Zambia. Recently however, Philippines, Sudan and Zambia along with Mozambique have elevated their aviation sector securities as par the international safety standards but still not enough for the restriction to be completely revoked.