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Angola: National flag carrier removed from EU blacklist

Photo by by kaysha, under a Creative Commons license

Photo by kaysha, published under a Creative Commons licenseAfter

After two years, the first TAAG flight from Luanda to Lisbon is scheduled for 1 August 2009 on a Boeing 777-200ER. Angola Airlines have re-launched flights to Europe after the European Commission decided to lift its ban, bringing new hope for a better financial situation to the national flag carrier of Angola, which had been able to operate to Portugal only thanks to a partnership with South African Airlines.

According to the European Commission's announcement, TAAG may re-launch flights but “only with certain aircraft and according to very strict conditions”. This means that Angola Airlines does not yet have the green light to fly to other European countries, such as France.

According to the European Transport Commissioner, António Tajani, TAAG remains on the EU blacklist. However, the European Commission “recognises” the “progress made by Angola’s civil aviation authorities and its air carrier TAAG to resolve the problems in a gradual and safe way.”

In July 2007, TAAG was put on the European air space blacklist, due to a lack of safety in its operations. Back then, TAAG operated six flights per week between Lisbon and Luanda, and a weekly flight to Paris.

Eugénio Costa Almeida, from the Pululu blog, shares his views on the subject:

“Finalmente a TAAG volta, cerca de dois anos depois, a poder voar em céus europeus, ainda que à condição. De acordo com o boletim da União Europeia, hoje divulgado, e depois de constatar que a Comissão “reconhece” o “progresso” realizado pela aviação civil angolana e pela TAAG para “resolver progressivamente quaisquer deficiências de segurança”, retirou a companhia da Palanca Negra da lista negra e permite, durante um período – que será de observação no desenvolvimento das medidas implementadas – voar para um dos países europeus. O destino aprovado foi Lisboa, pelo que a TAAG irá fazer cerca de 10 voos semanais entre Luanda e a capital portuguesa. Todavia, as restantes companhias de bandeira ou registadas em Angola continuam interditas de voarem para a Europa. Também as aeronaves tipo Boieng B-777, com as matrículas D2-TED, D2-TEE e D2-TEF, parecem estar impedidas de voar nos céus europeus. A não ser que haja alguma razão válida parece-me que continua a haver aqui uma “certa imposição” comunitária em compra de aviões da Airbus. Mas depois dos últimos acidentes com esta companhia…”

“Finally, about two years later, TAAG will be able to fly in European skies, although under restrictions. According to the European Union's statement, announced today [July 14th], and after the Commission “recognized” the “progress” made by Angolan civil aviation and TAAG in “gradually resolving any safety deficiencies”, the EU has removed the company [whose symbol is] the Giant Sable Antelope from the blacklist and allowed it to fly to European countries for some time – to observe the development of the implemented measures. The approved destination was the Portuguese capital Lisbon to where TAAG will provide about 10 flights per week from Luanda. However, the remaining airlines from or registered in Angola are still prohibited from flying to Europe. Also the aircraft type Boieng B-777, with registrations D2-TED, TEE-D2 and D2-TEF, seem to be banned from flying in European skies. Unless there is some valid reason for it, it seems to me that there is here a “certain community levy” on buying planes from Airbus. But after the recent accidents involving this company… “

Afonso Loureiro, from the Aerograma blog [pt] also writes about the news, showing his criticism about the way Angola dealt with the matter:

“As atribulações da companhia aérea de bandeira angolana com as autoridades europeias são já sobejamente conhecidas. A habitual arrogância com que Angola encara críticas, esperando que se adaptem as leis internacionais à realidade angolana e não o contrário, apenas tem dificultado mais o processo de certificação da TAAG que a autorizará a voar para a Europa de novo. Tudo o que um estrangeiro possa dizer de Angola é passível de ser mal interpretado e distorcido, por isso, mais não digo, com receio de que tudo isto seja lido e interpretado como o devaneio de um estrangeiro branco em Angola. Na verdade, prefiro ser apenas porta-voz do que os angolanos pensam da situação da TAAG, que reconhecem haver uma certa desorganização e informalidade na maneira como a companhia opera.”

“The tribulations between the flag carrier of Angola and the European authorities are already well known. The usual arrogance that Angola faces criticism, hoping that international law is adapted to the Angolan reality and not the contrary, has only complicated further the process of certification of TAAG, allowing it to fly to Europe again. All that a foreigner can say in Angola is likely to be misunderstood and distorted, therefore, I do not say anything else for fear that all this is read and interpreted as the dream of a white foreigner in Angola. Actually I prefer only be a spokesman of what the Angolan people think of the TAAG situation, they recognize that there is some disorganisation and informality in the way the company operates. “

For a full list of carriers on the European blacklist see the following press release: Commission updates the list of airlines banned from European airspace.

1 comment

  • The EU had a decent amount of reason to blacklist the airline given things like this firsthand account of a passenger riding on a flight that broke apart upon landing. I didn’t ever see the final reason for that crash if it was pilot error or mechanical failure.

    It’s good that routes are reopening to some extent though as Africa needs these connections to the rest of the world.

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