The French Transport Ministry has announced plans to publish a list of airlines that have been banned from landing in French territory due to safety violations. Transport Minister Dominique Perben also indicated that safety inspections of planes making stopovers at French airports will be increased.
The move follows the crash in Venezuela last week of a charter airliner operated by Trans Caribbean Airways that killed 152 passengers from the French island of Martinique and 8 crew members.
The Ministry's Internet site will also publish a list of authorized companies, including charter airlines. Switzerland and the U.K. began publishing similar lists in January 2004 and there is strong pressure for the European Union to create a Europe-wide blacklist.
This would solve a big problem with airline safety in Europe. Each country currently conducts its own aircraft inspections, frequently without knowing what other countries may have found. Most authorities agree that such a continent-wide list is long overdue.
The recent spate of fatal accidents has focused attention on the problem. Europeans are flying more and more airlines are being created to handle the traffic, especially low-cost charters. This puts a greater strain on the inspectors who have to certify that an aircraft is safe to fly. Inevitably there are lapses, often with fatal consequences.