The Israeli Ministry of Transport said last week that Israeli airlines are unlikely to have their safety rating lowered by the European Union
The statement followed a meeting last weekend in Brussels between Israel Airport Authority (IAA) officials and a representative of the EU authority for flight safety who made it clear that he had no intention of lowering the safety rating of Israeli airlines, El Al, Arkia, Israir and Sun D'or.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) warned Israeli airlines three weeks ago that it may consider to ban flights from Israel unless safety standards are improved at Ben Gurion Airport.
Last December the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), deemed the international authority on flight standards throughout the Western world, said it considered to lower the safety ranking given to Ben Gurion International Airport from Category 1 to Category 2, a category usually prevalent among third world countries, small or poor countries, like Kiribati and Bangladesh. Israel, though, is a surprise inclusion.
The European Union has a blacklist ofairlines banned from Europe for being too unsafe. The list is populated mainly by airlines from African countries and failed states. It includes North Korea's Air Koryo, Sudan's Air West, all of Indonesia's airlines, and over fifty airlines from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The consequences of being blacklisted would mean that Israeli airlines were prohibited from landing at European airports or even flying over European airspace.
The Ministry of Transport reported that the IAA's plan to restore Israel to the highest aviation safety category gained supports from EASA, although they stressed the importance of Israeli airlines maintaining the highest levels of safety, as a condition for preserving the status of Israeli companies in Europe.