By Nane Atshemian
An Armenian-registered company is among nine mostly African airlines that have been banned from entering Belgium’s airspace for safety reasons, Armenia’s Civil Aviation Department confirmed on Tuesday.
The department spokesman, Serzh Manukian, told RFE/RL that the small carrier called Air Van Airlines is formally based in Yerevan and has only one aircraft registered with the Armenian aviation authority.
Manukian said the U.S.-made Boeing has carried out flights only outside Armenia. But he could not specify any routes operated by the obscure airline. He also revealed that there are about three dozen other Yerevan-based carriers that mainly operate abroad.
The Air Van Airlines director, identified by the Civil Aviation Department as Gennady Sargsian, could not be reached for comment. The Belgian government blacklisted it along with eight other airlines on Monday. Five other foreign carriers were banned from flying to neighboring France. The blacklisted companies were deemed unsafe by Belgian and French authorities
The measures came in response to a series of fatal accidents this month, including a crash on August 16 that killed 160 people in Venezuela, almost all of them French tourists from the Caribbean island of Martinique. Similar crashes occurred near Athens and off the coast of Sicily.