Venezuela rejects EU ban on EU landings, vows countervailing measures

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THE European Union's decision to ban Venezuela's state airline, Conviasa, from flying to European airports for safety reasons has been labelled unfair by the Venezuelan foreign ministry.

In response, the foreign ministry said Venezuela is considering "reciprocal measures", without providing details.

A report by the Associated Press reported the Foreign Ministry said the EU ban "contradicts assessments made by the International Civil Aviation Organisation regarding the safe operating conditions.

The European Commission said in a regular update of its blacklist that Conviasa, or Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronauticas y Servicios Aereos SA, is being included in the list due to "numerous safety concerns arising from accidents and the results of ramp checks at EU airports".

At present Conviasa only flies to Madrid in Spain within the EU.

The report said the EC has also raised concerns about the safety of two other Venezuelan airlines, Estellar Latinoamerica and Aerotuy. But they were not included in the blacklist for now, though EU authorities said they would "remain subject to increased monitoring".

The blacklisting comes after Conviasa halted domestic flights for two weeks in 2010 in the wake of a crash in Venezuela that claimed 17 lives.

The report added that two years before that fatal crash, a cargo aircraft operated by Conviasa crashed in Ecuador's central Andes shortly before landing, killing three crew members. The Boeing 737-200 lost contact with air traffic controllers five minutes before it was to land in the town of Latacunga, where it was due to undergo maintenance.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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