'US lists Israel among countries with poor aviation safety'

Israel appears on list together with third world countries which US aviation safety regulator says do not meet int'l standards, 'USA Today' reports.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
June 19, 2011 15:05
2 minute read.
An El Al plane taxiing down the runway

311_el al plane. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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The US government's aviation safety regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, lists Israel as one of 22 nations whose civil aviation authorities do not meet international safety standards, the USA Today reported on Saturday.

According to the report, even though the FAA says Israel's aviation authority does not meet international standards, the US allows El AL to continue flying into its airports.

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The FAA says that any foreign airline entering the US can continue to do so "under heightened FAA surveillance" after it has been determined that the aviation authority in the airline's country of origin does not meet international standards, the report said.

In contrast, Barbados-based airlines cannot fly into the US. The Barbadian ambassador to the US, John Beale, was quoted as saying in the USA Today report that he thinks the FAA's evaluation of his country's aviation safety was based on lacking staff members and the "structure" of the aviation authority.

Israel and Barbados are popular destinations for Americans, but the FAA's list is comprised mainly of third world countries not visited often by Americans. Among the countries mentioned on the list are Cote D'Ivoire, Haiti, Paraguay, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Philippines, Indonesia and the Ukraine.

Despite the publication of the list, some consumer and aviation safety advocates quoted in the USA Today report say the US government is not making enough efforts to protect and inform Americans who decide to board planes operated by foreign airlines without knowing of the risks involved.

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The European Union, by contrast, chooses to list airlines, instead of countries, who do not meet international standards. To date, the EU has listed 270 foreign airlines from 20 nations which it has banned from flying into European airports because of safety issues.

"I don't believe the average traveler traveling internationally has any idea about the safety, or lack thereof, of foreign air carriers," passenger-rights advocate Kate Hanni, executive director of the US group FlyersRights.org, was quoted as saying by USA Today.

"Good, reliable data about foreign airlines and their countries' safety oversight is not publicly provided. If fliers knew the truth, they would likely not fly on many carriers."

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