Search for MH370 to be suspended
July 31, 2016
The continued search efforts for the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared from radar contact over the South China Sea on 8th March 2014, will reportedly be suspended in the coming weeks. Authorities from Malaysia, China and Australia collectively agreed that if no new compelling evidence is discovered in the current search area, spanning 10,000sq-km, the joint operation will be halted.

The extensive search effort has been ongoing since the disappearance, with expenses now totalling approximately AUD180 million. Over 100,000 sq-km of water has been searched with underwater scanning equipment. However, no reliable locating pings from the aircraft’s blackbox (which includes the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder) have been identified. In late 2015 and early 2016, pieces confirmed to be from the engine cowling and interior panelling of a Boeing 777 aircraft were discovered in the African coastal waters of Mozambique and Reunion Island. The most recent and largest discovery was a piece believed to be from an outboard wing flap, found on a beach of Pemba Island off the coast of Tanzania. The piece is currently being examined by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to determine its origin.

Following the loss of MH370, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), in conjunction with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), have introduced new standards regarding aircraft tracking and position reporting when transiting over large areas of open water. These new standards, to be fully implemented by 2020, will require airlines to extend the recording time of Cockpit Voice Recorders and to update aircraft coordinates at more frequent intervals.

European Union amend Air Safety List
July 01, 2016
On June 16th 2016, the European Commission announced that a number of amendments have been made to the European Union (EU) Air Safety List. Commonly referred to as the "EU Ban List”, it consists of global airline carriers that are prohibited from operating within European Airspace due to the lack of adequate regulatory oversight. As a result of the recent changes, a number of airlines have been removed from the ban list, and can now operate unrestricted flights within European airspace.

Indonesian carriers Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air had their restrictions lifted. All Indonesian carriers were added to the EU Air Safety List in 2007, after it was determined that the Indonesia Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) could not provide an adequate level of regulatory oversight within Indonesia. Additionally, all airlines certified within Zambia can now commence commercial flights to the EU. Other amendments included the restrictions on Iran Air’s fleet being lifted, with the exception of the airline’s Fokker 100 and Boeing 747 aircraft, which continue to be prohibited from operating within EU airspace.

A total of 214 airlines currently feature on the EU ban list, which is due to the lack of adequate regulatory oversight provided by their respective state civil aviation authorities. Of these airlines, six are permitted to fly within the EU only with specific aircraft types. Additionally, Iraqi Airways (Iraq) and Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname) are banned due to serious safety concerns.

Solomon Airlines temporary suspension
June 30, 2016
On 7th June 2016, Solomon Airlines reportedly suspended operations after a number of its aircraft failed to be released by maintenance providers in Australia due to outstanding debts. These aircraft were consequently grounded due to the lack of payment. Despite the airline’s financial constraints, domestic operations resumed one day later, with international flights from Hoinara to Brisbane following on the 9th June. As a result of the suspension, a number of airlines also temporarily cancelled flights to Hoinara, over concerns relating to the lack of ground handling services provided by Solomon Airlines.


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