Airlines banned from operating to the UK
International civil aviation is governed by the Chicago Convention. Under the Convention, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is responsible for establishing minimum safety standards which contracting states are required to implement. States are required to recognise the certificates issued by other contracting states unless they have reason to believe that they have not been issued in accordance with ICAO standards. ICAO also audits contracting states’ aviation authorities to help identify and address any deficiencies in the implementation of international standards.
Any airline from outside the EU, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland which wishes to pick up or put down passengers or cargo in the UK requires a permit from the Secretary of State for Transport. It is a condition of the permit that the airline should be operated in accordance with international safety standards established by ICAO.
If we have doubts about whether an aircraft or airline complies with international safety standards we will arrange for the aircraft to be inspected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Permits may be refused, and existing permits suspended or revoked by the Secretary of State. This may occur where there is a breach of a permit condition, which would include non-compliance with international safety standards; however action can also be taken for reasons other than safety. Permit decisions will be reviewed in the light of new information or changed circumstances.
Decisions to refuse permits on safety grounds are now coordinated by the European Commission under EC Regulation 2111/2005. A list of airlines which are subject to community wide restrictions can be found on the Commission’s website:
The list was last updated on 19 April 2011.
It should be noted that the listed airlines may be permitted to offer services to the UK, and issued with a permit, if these services are contracted out and operated by another airline.
In addition to the community wide restrictions agreed under the Regulation 2111/2005, a Member State may take or maintain other safety permit restrictions in certain circumstances. The UK currently has no such restrictions in place.
The Department does not review the safety of airlines which do not operate to the UK; however, if information is available on such airlines it will be reflected in the Foreign Office’s country specific travel advice, which can be found at: www.fco.gov.uk.