Air Madagascar removed from EU blacklist

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) – Air Madagascar has been removed from the European Union’s safety blacklist, senior government officials and said.

The lift means the state-run airline is allowed to fly within the 28-nation EU for the first time since 2011.

“All the planes of Air Madagascar can fly over European skies as from Thursday noon,” James Andrianalisoa, director general of Civil Aviation of Madagascar, told a news conference late on Thursday.

Air Madagascar said in a statement that its removal from the blacklist would allow it to proceed with seeking a strategic partner.

The decision to take Air Madagascar off the list was announced in Brussels on Thursday.

The government directly owns 90 percent of Air Madagascar, while Air France <AIRF.PA> owns 0.20 percent, staff and other individuals hold 0.12 percent and the rest is held by state-owned companies.

It has a fleet of 11 aircraft and employs about 2,000 people.

Flying to 14 cities on the island and 13 foreign destinations, the airline is a driver of the island’s tourism sector.

Madagascar’s economy has been struggling since a 2009 coup which scared off foreign investors and prompted donors to cut aid.

A peaceful election in late 2013 saw aid flows resume but the new government has had difficulties introducing economic reforms.

(Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary; writing by George Obulutsa; editing by Jason Neely)
Published: 17/06/2016
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