Some airlines don’t meet the stringent safety, technical, and regulatory requirements for being approved for flying in the U.S. and Europe. Thus, those airlines are banned from flying in the US and European airspace.
Knowing which airlines are considered unsafe for you to fly could save your life someday! Of course, if you never venture outside of flying on American or European airlines, then the list should not be of significance for you.
The lists presented, however, do in no way tell the whole story of airline safety. They only represent selected safety criteria set by ICAO (FAA) and the European Union.
What are the criteria for being an airline banned from flying in the US and Europe?
The airlines approved as well as the airlines blacklisted by American and European Union aviation authorities end up on the no-fly list based on different criteria. The U.S. follows one set of rules criteria, while the Europeans follow another.
The U.S. would prohibit any airline from an entire banned country to enter U.S. airspace. The Europeans do not judge airline safety by the aviation standards of a whole country, but rather, per individual airline.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) criteria
The FAA makes a decision as to which airlines are considered safe versus those considered unsafe.
As opposed to banning individual airlines from flying in the U.S. airspace, the FAA has a list of countries that are banned.
FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program
The FAA bases their list on the criteria set by ICAO ( International Civil Aviation Organization) standards. ICAO is a specialized aviation-agency, a part of the UN (United Nations).
The name of the FAA’s program for listing the safe and unsafe airline operators based on each country is called the International Aviation Safety Assessment Program.
The inspectors from IASA decide when entire countries (not individual airlines) meet or exceed the international airline standards determined by the United Nations.
Certain countries have been deemed to not meeting minimum safety standards for aviation safety. Basically, airlines banned from US airspace do not maintain sufficient government oversight of the airlines registered in their own country.
Countries’ airlines banned from US airspace
The list is updated regularly. Not all the world’s national airlines are listed here, however. Be aware that the criteria for being named on the FAA-list, as an approved airline or not, involve certain conditions.
FAA list classifications of approved and non-approved airlines
The FAA list classifies each airline with a safety category classification. Furthermore, the classifications are divided into two categories:
Category Classification 1
Countries whose airlines have been found to meet ICAO safety standards are classified as Category 1.
Category Classification 2
Countries whose airlines have not been found to meet ICAO safety standards are classified as Category 2.
Further criteria for the FAA list of approved and banned airlines
- Countries that have not provided air transport service to the U.S. within the past four years are automatically removed from the list altogether. The same rule applies if a foreign airline has no code-share agreement with a U.S. carrier, or if the airline has had no significant interaction with the FAA during the past four years.
- If a country’s airline does not serve the U.S. at the time of assessment an asterisk (*) will be added to that country’s Category 2 determination.
The FAA list of airlines banned from flying in the U.S.
The list is frequently updated by the FAA. Here is the list as a PDF-file, current at the time of writing, from May 13, 2019.
Airlines banned from European airspace (the EU)
Europe does not follow ICAO’s banned airline-guidelines based on whole countries safety procedures as the US does.
EU does not maintain a list of banned countries. Instead, they operate with a list of individual airlines not found be in compliance with EU’s aviation safety requirements. EU’s member states can only have their civil aviation authorities physically inspect airplanes flying into and out of airports when the planes are located within the European Union.
As a result, not every airline flying into Europe is being checked. It’s impossible to check every airline that lands within the EU. There aren’t enough inspectors for that. Thus, they cannot guarantee that every airline flying in there meets the EU’s’ aviation standards.
Europes’ banned airline list
Like the US’ banned country list, Europe’s banned airline list is also subject to periodic status updates.