As the BBC reported, the country of Benin now has the dubious distinction in joining the EU no fly list. I say the country because every single airline has been banned from flying in to the EU on account of safety issues. This is not the first time this has happened to an entire country in Africa unfortunately:
The list also imposes a total ban on airlines based in Equatorial Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Gabon – save for Gabon Airlines and Afrijet, which have exemptions for a small number of aircraft.
You’ll notice Kyrgyzstan in that list and Kazakhstan has also had most of its airlines banned. So, it’s not like the regulators are singling out the continent of Africa, it just so happens that they majority of their list is based there. It also happens that there are a greater number of European-based flights to Africa than to Central Asia and lemme tell ya, they ain’t cheap.
Is this list justified? Probably to some extent. As shown with accidents on Hewa Bora, like the one last year in Goma, DR Congo, it is often people the ground who are killed in these incidents. If you want a really horrific story, this one from Angola will probably never make you want to fly again. But, the US and Europe aren’t without their accidents. Percentage-wise, they definitely have less than Africa as a whole and if given the choice, I would rather not fly on most African airlines with the exceptions of Kenya Airways or South African Airways.
It does make me wonder if it’s just a wee bit profit driven because if the only airline that can fly from Benin to Europe is Air France it does make it easy for them to charge whatever they want as there is next to no competition. Such is life I suppose and to be honest, the only serious crash in Benin I can find on the interweb was back in 2003 which was a Lebanese charter flight. Maybe the Benin airlines are indeed problematic. Maybe it’s a money grab. Whatever the case, it’s a rather severe limiting of options for the people of Benin to connect with the rest of the world.