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'I wish France had told us' about plane ban, says Comoros minister

Video by Gulliver CRAGG

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-07-01

The Comoran minister for transport told FRANCE 24 that French authorities had not informed his country that the doomed Airbus passenger jet was banned from French airspace, saying it was 'discrimination' to withhold a list of banned planes.

Emergency numbers:

Paris airport number for families of passengers: +33.1.48.64.59.59
Yemenia Airways emergency number: +967.1.250.833

 

 

The Comoran vice-president and transport minister has accused France of failing to inform its former colony that the Yemenia Airbus that crashed in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday was banned from French airspace.

 

In a telephone interview with FRANCE 24, Idi Nadhoim said French aviation authorities had 'discriminated' against its own citizens by withholding a list of banned planes.

 

"I wish the French could have informed us about any irregularities with this plane," he said. "Passengers flying this route are 99% French citizens.

 

“What is this discrimination between French passengers that have to be protected in France and those French people who are left to fly in these kinds of planes?

 

"It would have been easier for us if France had communicated with us their list of Airbus planes that are not good to fly."

 

Mr Nadhuim added that although Yemenia’s service “was not first class”, more checks should be done on Airbus, which he said had lost three planes in less than two months.

 

“This is not the first accident involving Airbus A310s,” he said. “If France was to ban every A310 from its airspace we would ban them as well.”

 

Yemen's national carrier insisted, however, it had a strict policy to ensure fleet maintenance and denounced speculation of technical problems following the crash.

Yemenia said in a statement it "implements a strict policy to ensure its aircraft are fully operational, with regular maintenance in line with international standards."

French Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said on Tuesday that French inspectors had in 2007 found numerous faults on the plane, an Airbus A310-300, and that the airline was being closely monitored by EU authorities.

"The plane had not since then reappeared in our country," he said.

But Yemenia denounced what it said was "false information and speculation about technical problems" on the doomed plane. "Passenger safety is the top priority on our flights."

Yemenia said it would "never allow one of its planes to take off unless it was in a very good condition," highlighting the fact that this was the first such incident in the history of the airline which was founded in 1961.

The company is 51 percent owned by the government of Yemen, one of the poorest countries on the planet, and 49 percent by Saudi Arabia.

  

 

 

Date created : 2009-07-01

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