News24

Yemen airline was scrutised

2009-06-30 16:04

Brussels - The European Commission was investigating safety standards at Yemenia Airways last year and almost put the company on its blacklist of unsafe airlines then, according to an EU legal document.

The document said that unspecified "deficiencies" had been noted during inspections on the company's aircraft - one of which crashed Tuesday with 153 people aboard off the Comoros - in France, Germany and Italy.

It showed that the commission had insisted that Yemenia provide an "action plan" to both it and the 27 EU member states so that they could assess whether the company had addressed safety concerns.

"The commission considers that the corrective actions submitted by Yemenia must be fully implemented and closely monitored," said the text, a legal document from July 24 2008 updating the bloc's air transport blacklist.

When asked about what had happened over the last year, a commission transport spokesperson said on Tuesday that the company had complied with its obligations, without elaborating.

The document also showed that Airbus and Yemenia had sealed a contract under which the plane manufacturer would train the company's pilots and engineers.

Under the deal, Airbus was to monitor maintenance and engineering work as well as the operations of Yemenia's aircraft.

The ill-fated Yemenia flight left Paris airport on Monday. An Airbus A330-200 aircraft took off for the Yemeni capital Sanaa via Marseille.

In Yemen, the passengers changed to an Airbus A310 and departed for the Comoros via Djibouti, but the twin engine aircraft crashed into rough waters in the Indian Ocean off the Comoros islands.

France's transport minister said that French inspectors had noted numerous faults on the jet that crashed, when it was last in the country in 2007.